The House voted on Thursday to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) for intentionally pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building.
While the House was working tirelessly to avert a government shutdown, Representative Bowman was working nefariously to prevent a vote. It is reprehensible that a Member of Congress would go to such lengths to prevent House Republicans from bringing forth a vote to keep the government operating and Americans receiving their paychecks. Especially from a former schoolteacher, who without a doubt understands the function and severity of pulling a fire alarm.
In a lightning-quick fashion, the House approved the resolution by a vote that largely split down party lines. However, three Democrats bravely crossed party lines and voted to approve the censure. They included:
- Rep. Chris Pappas (N.H.)
- Rep. Jahana Hayes (Conn.)
- Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (Wash.)
An additional four Democrats — Reps. Glenn Ivey (Md.), Susan Wild (Penn.), Deborah Ross (N.C.), and Chrissy Houlahan (Penn.) — voted “present,” meaning they did not outright vote against the resolution, but didn’t explicitly endorse it, either.
What is the background?
On Sept. 30, just hours before the government could have shut down, Republicans were preparing to vote on a stop-gap spending bill, and Democrats were looking for ways to stall the vote. During that mayhem, Bowman pulled a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building, triggering an evacuation of the building and temporarily halting proceedings on Capitol Hill.
Bowman initially claimed he didn’t know he was pulling a fire alarm, alleging he believed the lever would open a door.
But the Capitol Police later released surveillance video showing Bowman remove signs warning designating the door as an emergency exit before he calmly reached for the fire alarm. He never attempted to leave through the doors has he claimed.
Bowman then pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of setting off a false fire alarm. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge after three months if Bowman paid a $1,000 fine and issued a formal apology to the Capitol Police.
Bowman is the third House Democrat to be censured this year. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was censured in January for “misleading the American public and for conduct unbecoming of an elected Member of the House of Representatives,” and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was censured last month for endorsing a Hamas rallying cry.
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