House censures Jamaal Bowman for fire alarm pulling incident

The House on Thursday voted to censure Rep. Jamal Bowman, D-N.Y., for pulling a fire alarm in September. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The House voted Thursday to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman for pulling the fire alarm in the House office building in September.

The 214-191 fell mostly along party lines with three Democrats -- Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., Rep. Marie Glusenkamp Perez, D-Wash., and Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn. -- voting with the majority of Republicans to censure Bowman, D-N.Y.

Four Democrats and one Republican also voted "present."

The incident took place on Sept. 30 in the Cannon House Office Building as Republicans began a vote on a stopgap bill to fund the government in the face of an impending government shutdown.

Bowman on Oct. 25, Bowman admitted to accidentally pulling the fire alarm while trying to open the door as he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willfully and knowingly pulling a false fire alarm.

As a result of the plea he was required to apologize to the Capitol Police and pay a $1,000 fine.

House Republicans said Bowman intentionally pulled the fire alarm in hopes of delaying then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's attempt to introduce a "clean" continuing resolution to the House floor.

Democrats said the incident did not affect what happened and the issue had already been resolved with the plea, fine, and the House Ethics committee declining to conduct its own investigation.

"I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote," Bowman said in his defense. "It was the exact opposite. I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did and joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep our government open.

"I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused."

Only 27 House members have been rebuked in the chamber's history but the GOP majority had already censured two other Democrats, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Rashid Tlaib, D-Mich., this year.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., objected to the move to censure Bowman and said the other recent censures "has brought disgrace" to the chamber.

"The effort to weaponize the censure -- what happened, Mr. Speaker, to civility? To trying to foster an environment where we can solve problems on behalf of the American people," Jeffries said.