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House advances resolution to censure Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman over fire alarm incident

By Clare Foran and Haley Talbot, CNN

The House voted to advance a GOP-led resolution on Wednesday to censure Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York for triggering a fire alarm in a House office building when there was not an emergency. A final vote on whether to pass the censure resolution is expected to take place Thursday.

Bowman was caught on tape pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building in late September, shortly before the House was scheduled to vote on a government funding bill. The building was subsequently evacuated.

The congressman said following the incident that it had been an accident.

“I was trying to get to a door. I thought the alarm would open the door, and I pulled the fire alarm to open the door by accident,” Bowman said at the time, adding: “I was just trying to get to my vote and the door that’s usually open wasn’t open, it was closed.”

On Wednesday, the House voted down a Democratic motion to table – or block – the resolution by a tally of 201 to 216.

In October, Bowman was charged by the DC attorney general over the incident and subsequently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for falsely triggering a fire alarm in a House office building.

Censure amounts to a rare and significant rebuke of a member of Congress, but does not carry an explicit penalty beyond a public admonition of a lawmaker.

Republican Rep. Lisa McClain of Michigan put forward the resolution to censure Bowman, saying on X, “Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included.”

CNN has reached out to Bowman’s office to request comment on the resolution.

The censure resolution will come to the floor less than a week after the House voted to expel indicted GOP Rep. George Santos of New York – the most severe form of punishment for a member. That vote brought an end to a scandal-plagued and tumultuous tenure on Capitol Hill for the freshman congressman. Expulsion is exceedingly rare and requires a two-thirds majority vote to succeed – a high bar to clear.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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