Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) caused a significant issue on Capitol Hill this weekend after pulling a fire alarm, delaying a crucial vote related to the impending government shutdown. The alarm going off could have major implications related to the vote itself and also for institutional trust caused by Bowman’s actions.
The pulling of the fire alarm caused considerable concern at the Capitol. It also came after Democrats attempted to delay the vote on whether to extend federal government funding for 45 days, with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) filibustering in a speech.
When asked by reporters about the incident, Bowman told reporters that he believed that the fire alarm level would open a nearby door.
The incident is also being investigated by Capitol Police and the House Administration Committee.
Rep Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning. An investigation into why it was pulled is underway. – Chairman Bryan Steil
— House Admin. Committee GOP (@HouseAdmin) September 30, 2023
In the District of Columbia, falsely reporting a fire is a misdemeanor. Such a charge, if convicted, could be punishable by a fine or up to six months in jail.
Bowman’s action was criticized by his Republican colleagues.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) called for Bowman’s arrest on social media. He also requested to “find out if other Dems pushed him to do it.”
The House passed a continuing resolution that did not include any of the budget cuts and border security funding initially pushed by Republican members.
House passed the measure by a 335-91 margin, representing a significant change from the original bill. This move was lauded by Congressional Democrats, with Jeffries stating that “MAGA Republicans have surrendered.”
“All extreme right-wing policies have been removed from the House spending bill. The American people have won,” he wrote.
The vote and the circumstances leading up to it represented a key challenge for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who came under significant criticism from a number of conservative members of the House, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
The new bill could play a role in McCarthy’s future in the closely divided House, especially as the new bill included no new aid allocated for Ukraine in its war against Russia.