House Votes To Censure ‘Squad’ Member After Pulling Fire Alarm


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman, the New York Democrat who pleaded guilty last month to pulling a fire alarm allegedly to stall a GOP-led vote on a bill he and other party members opposed.

USA Today reported that the motion to censure was introduced by Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., against Bowman, who pulled the alarm in the Cannon Building in September.

“While the House was working tirelessly to avert a government shutdown, Representative Bowman was working nefariously to prevent a vote,” McClain said in a statement after she introduced the resolution.

“It is reprehensible that a Member of Congress would go to such lengths to prevent House Republicans from bringing forth a vote to keep the government operating and Americans receiving their paychecks. Especially from a former schoolteacher, who without a doubt understands the function and severity of pulling a fire alarm,” she added.

“Instead of being able to enter the chamber and hold an appropriate debate on critical legislation, House Members and their staff were forced to evacuate the Cannon House Office Building, delaying a vote as a shutdown loomed. Rep. Bowman went out of his way to obstruct the work of Congress and broke the laws of D.C. in the process, and for that, he deserves to be Censured before the House,” she said.


At the time, Emma Simon, a spokesperson for the congressman, said Bowman “did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote.”

The New York Democrat eventually pleaded guilty to pulling the alarm, paid a $1,000 fine, and provided a written apology to Capitol Police.

The censure resolution is scheduled to come to the floor for a vote this week, according to The Hill. Bowman will become the 26th lawmaker to be censured, following Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, if the vote is successful.

Meanwhile, some were critical that the Republican-led chamber only voted to censure Bowman but voted to expel one of their own, former Rep. George Santos, last week though he has only been charged with criminal actions and has yet to be tried or convicted.

With a vote of 311 to 114, the House went above and beyond the two-thirds necessary to remove Santos. There were two abstentions and two present votes among Democrats in favor of the measure, while 104 Republicans were in favor of it.

Several House Republicans have issued a warning to colleagues after the chamber voted to expel.


In a video posted to his social media, Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) noted following the vote that in the history of the U.S. Congress, only five members had been expelled, “three of which had fought for the Confederacy or were expelled in 1861, and the other two who had been convicted, not accused or indicted, but convicted of actual criminality.”

He noted further: “We set a very dangerous precedent in America when this institution is allowed to expel and play judge, juror, and executioner on someone who had not had yet their constitutional right to have their day in court to approach their accusers before a jury of their peers.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) expressed a very similar sentiment on the X platform as well.

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“What happened to the presumption of innocence principle?” he wondered, adding that Santos’s “expulsion sets a dangerous precedent.”

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) added as well: “What about Santos warranted departing from 234 years of the precedent that expulsion from Congress for alleged criminal acts follows conviction? I couldn’t identify anything.”

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) wrote: “Removing a sitting member of Congress who has yet to be convicted of any crimes sets a dangerous precedent. New York’s Third Congressional District elected Mr. Santos. They should be the judge on removing him.”