Sep 30, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House Democrat under investigation for pulling Capitol Hill alarm

Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Photo: Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) is facing an investigation and a Republican-led expulsion effort after he pulled a fire alarm in a House office building while the House scrambled to head off a government shutdown on Saturday.

Driving the news: Bowman spokesperson Emma Simon told Axios in a statement that the congressman "did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote."

  • Bowman later told reporters he "thought the alarm would open the door" because "the door that's usually open wasn't open."

The backdrop: In the lead-up to a House vote on a measure to extend federal funding for 45 days, an audible alarm went off in the Cannon House office building that prompted the Capitol Police to evacuate staff.

  • House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil (R-Wisc.) said in a statement: "Rep Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning. An investigation into why it was pulled is underway."
  • “An investigation into what happened and why continues,” Capitol Police spokesperson Paul Starks.

What we're hearing: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), a fellow New Yorker, has drafted a resolution to expel Bowman from Congress, her office told Axios.

  • That resolution could face an uphill battle – it would require a two-thirds vote, meaning many Democrats would have to cross the aisle to vote to expel one of their own.
  • But Reps. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) and Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) are both working on measures to censure Bowman, their offices told Axios. Such a vote would need only a simple majority.

What they're saying: Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) told Axios that "it appears from the footage [of the incident] to be him ... I'd like to understand, obviously, what his explanation is."

  • "A member of Congress should certainly never put people in jeopardy and this puts people in the middle of health and safety issues," Morelle added.
  • McCarthy said he is "going to have a discussion" about it with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

Axios' Juliegrace Brufke contributed to this story.

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