Rep. Jamaal Bowman was caught pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Building moments before the House was scheduled to vote on a funding bill to avert a government shutdown. Bowman’s team has claimed the move was an accident, but didn’t immediately clarify how it happened or what Bowman was trying to do. That also hasn’t stopped multiple Republicans from calling for severe consequences.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that “this should not go without punishment” and hinted that Bowman’s act was equivalent to the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol. “When you think of how other people are treated, when they wanted to come in and change the course of what was happening in this building,” McCarthy said.
“This is an embarrassment,” he added. “You’re elected to be a member of Congress. You pulled the fire alarm in a minute of 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 wasn’t alone in his condemnation. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stopped to speak to reporters about Bowman as well. McCarthy had been asked about Bowman, but Greene brought him up herself.
“Police are questioning him right now, because it’s on video,” Greene said. “This is the exact, he violated the exact same law that January 6th defendants are being prosecuted for every single day.”
Greene added, “He violated the exact same law, interrupting the official proceeding, and, by pulling a fire alarm.”
Republican Rep. Mike Lawler told Fox News that the “potentially criminal” act should prompt Bowman to resign from office. “That any member of Congress would think it’s appropriate to pull a fire alarm to try and delay Congress from doing its business is shameful,” Lawler said.
Wisconsin representative and chairman of the House administration committee has announced that he intends to investigate. His office tweeted, “Rep Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning. An investigation into why it was pulled is underway. – Chairman Bryan Steil.”
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis took things a step further and tweeted that she is working on a resolution to expel Bowman from the House. She wrote, “This is the United States Congress, not a New York City high school. This action warrants expulsion & I’m introducing a resolution to do just that.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik shared on X (formerly Twitter) that she believes Bowman committed a felony by pulling the alarm. As she put it, “A Democrat Member of Congress just committed a felony by pulling the fire alarm to try to delay and stop a Congressional vote to fund the government.”
A spokesperson for Bowman told The Hill, “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.”