Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., introduced a privileged resolution on Tuesday to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., for pulling a fire alarm in a congressional building while House members were gathered inside to consider a vote to fund the government.
McClain’s resolution was introduced as privileged, meaning the House must move to act on it within two legislative days.
Bowman has admitted to activating the fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building in September as GOP lawmakers sought to kick off a vote on a spending measure to keep the government open. But he insisted that he did it by mistake and that he thought it would open the door.
In October, Bowman pleaded guilty to one count of falsely pulling a fire alarm. He entered that plea as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, under which he was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and to write an apology letter to the U.S. Capitol Police chief. In return, prosecutors will dismiss the charge in three months if he does not break any other laws in that period.
“Today, I introduced a PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION to censure Representative Bowman for knowingly causing a false alarm of a fire while the House worked to avert a government shutdown,” McClain wrote on the social media platform X on Tuesday. “Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included.”
Bowman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Former Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., introduced a resolution to expel Bowman last week but Santos was expelled from the House before the resolution could come to a vote.
Republicans have alleged that Bowman pulled the alarm to try delay the government funding vote. In September, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called for Bowman to be punished and likened the incident to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
McCarthy had cited “how other people were treated when they come in and wanted to change the course of what was happening in the building.”
But Bowman has said that the act was purely unintentional.
“I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote. 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,” he said in a statement.
He added: “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.”