Amid a chaotic morning with lawmakers striving to avert a government shutdown, New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D) allegedly pulled a fire alarm in one of the House of Representatives’ office buildings.
Committee Chair Bryan Steil (R-WI) confirmed the incident is under investigation.
“Rep. Jamal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning. An investigation into why it was pulled is underway,” Steil said. The Capitol Police’s criminal investigation unit is questioning Bowman regarding the incident.
“Congressman Bowman did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote. The Congressman regrets any confusion,” Bowman’s chief of staff wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The incident, captured on camera, occurred shortly after House Republicans announced their intention to expedite a stopgap spending bill, catching Democrats off-guard. Despite their complaints about insufficient time to review the over 70-page bill, it passed with the support of all but one House Democrat.
The incident led to immediate calls from Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for an ethics committee investigation.
“This is an embarrassment. You’re elected to be a member of Congress. He pulled a fire alarm in the… hours before the government being shut down, trying to dictate that government would shut down. What’s going through a person’s mind like that? But we will find the right ability to deal with this,” McCarthy said.
Some are advocating for Bowman’s censure, expulsion and even prosecution for falsely triggering a fire alarm, a misdemeanor in Washington, D.C., punishable by a fine of up to six months in jail.
“Jamaal, are you ready?” Texas Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) posted on social media, accompanied by a photo of himself holding handcuffs. Bowman explained to reporters that he mistakenly thought he was opening a door by pulling the fire alarm.
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