U.S. Congressman Jamaal Bowman, a Democrat of New York, reportedly pulled the fire alarm in a House office building Saturday just as the chamber was scrambling to secure what eventually was a bipartisan vote in favor of a Republican stopgap spending bill meant to ward off a midnight government shutdown.
The incident in the Cannon Building was caught on video and confirmed by several witnesses, according to the New York Post and other outlets.
“An investigation into why it was pulled is underway,” a spokesperson for the GOP-controlled Administration Committee told the New York Post, confirming the incident.
Bowman’s spokeswoman Emma Simon told the Post her boss made a mistake.
“Congressman Bowman did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote,” she said, according to the paper.
“NY Democrat Jamaal Bowman literally pulled a fire alarm to stall and prevent our efforts to force a vote to keep the federal government open. Pathetic. Criminal investigation needs to happen,” U.S. Rep. Nick Langworthy, a Republican of New York, said on X, formerly Twitter.
The House version of funding efforts, which keeps the lights on for the government for another 45 days at 2023 spending levels, passed 335-91. It was headed to the Senate for a Saturday evening vote.
Creating a false fire alarm is a misdemeanor in the District of Columbia and can be punishable by up to six months in jail.
“No one in this country is above the law,” Bowman himself said just months ago in a tweet about former president Donald Trump. Bowman was applauding various indictments against the former leader who is seeking reelection in 2024.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he would have a “discussion” with Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries about the Bowman situation, the New York Post also reported.