House Censures Jamaal Bowman

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) following an incident in which he pulled a fire alarm prior to a crucial floor vote. The event prompted an evacuation and law enforcement considering charges against the New York Democrat.

Bowman was caught on tape pulling a fire alarm prior to a vote regarding a funding package to prevent a government shutdown. He later claimed that he believed that the alarm would open a nearby doorway, despite his experience as a former school principal.

The vote found some Democrats joining with Republicans in their criticism of Bowman, including Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), who won a close race for her seat last year.

Five members of the House, including three representatives on the House Ethics Committee, voted president.

Overall, 211 Republicans and three Democrats voted for the measure. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), who serves on the House Ethics Committee said that Bowmn “was faced with multiple opportunities to diffuse the situation” but did not tell the Capitol Police. Joyce called this a “shameful disregard for public safety.”

“As a former Middle School Principal and sitting Member of Congress, there is no excuse for this kind of behavior,” he said. “When the House Ethics Committee convened on this matter, as is required following the indictment of a Member for criminal conduct, I was shocked and disappointed that a majority of the Members of this bipartisan committee did not agree to pursue any additional action or investigation.”

Bowman said that it was “painfully obvious to myself and my colleagues and the American people that the Republican Party is unserious and unable to legislate. In no way did I obstruct official proceedings.”

He separately pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for his actions.

The case followed the November censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for alleged antisemitic comments and sharing anti-Israel messages on social media.

The censure also follows the successful effort last week to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) following the release of an ethics report that claimed he engaged in fraud.