New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman censured by U.S. House after he pulled fire alarm
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Thursday to censure Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York.
The House voted 214-191 along party lines on a resolution to censure Bowman for pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building on Sept. 30 while the House considered legislation to prevent a government shutdown. Censure amounts to deep disapproval of a member’s actions, but falls short of expulsion.
In a Sept. 30 statement on X, Bowman said he pulled the fire alarm by mistake and that he was not trying to “delay any vote.”
“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open,” Bowman said in the statement. “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.”
Three Democrats back censure
During Thursday’s censure resolution vote, three Democrats — Reps. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington — broke from their party to vote “yea.”
Of the five “present” votes, four were Democrats: Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Deborah Ross of North Carolina and Glenn Ivey of Maryland.
Rep. Lisa McClain, a Michigan Republican, introduced the privileged resolution Tuesday, which required the House to take up the legislation within two days. The House then debated the resolution on Wednesday.
McClain and other Republicans argued that censuring Bowman was a necessary step to hold him accountable for his actions.
“We really shouldn’t even have this debate,” McClain said Wednesday on the House floor. “If you break the law, and you follow due process, there are consequences to your actions, even if you say sorry.”
In response, Bowman said Wednesday on the House floor that the GOP’s censure resolution “continues to demonstrate their inability to govern and serve the American people.”
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Democrats defend Bowman
Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Wednesday called the censure resolution “fake, fraudulent and fictitious.” He said Bowman has “taken public responsibility for the fire alarm incident” and that the House Ethics Committee “made clear that no further action was required.”
“So why is the author of this resolution and the extreme MAGA Republicans on the floor of the House wasting time and taxpayer resources trying to undermine the credibility of Jamaal Bowman, someone who is doing his best to serve his constituents?” Jeffries said.
Jeffries said Republicans are continuing to “weaponize the censure” as they are “going after Democrats repeatedly week after week after week because you have nothing better to do.”
Two other Democrats have been censured this year, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Adam Schiff of California. The resolution against Tlaib targeted her for “promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
Schiff was censured for his efforts to investigate former President Donald Trump.
The vote to censure Bowman also follows the expulsion of Republican Rep. George Santos of New York on Dec. 1.
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