Representative Jamaal Bowman, a Democrat from New York, caused the fire alarm to go off in the House Cannon office building on Saturday while his party was attempting to delay a vote on a temporary spending bill. As a result, the building was evacuated, and both the Capitol Police and the House Administration Committee launched investigations.
Representative Bryan Steil, a Republican from Wisconsin and the chairman of the committee, stated that an inquiry into the triggering of the alarm has been initiated. The Capitol Police confirmed that the building was briefly evacuated and stated that an investigation is ongoing. “An investigation into what happened and why continues,” said Paul Starks, a police spokesman.
The fire alarm was set off at the same time that House Democrats were stalling a vote on a spending measure to extend government operations for another 45 days. Speaker Kevin McCarthy had just unveiled the bill, and Democrats were rushing to review its contents and decide whether to support it. Later in the day, the bill passed with a vote of 335 to 91, with more Democrats in favor than Republicans.
Sarah Iddrissu, Mr. Bowman’s chief of staff, confirmed in a statement on X that the congressman, who represents the north Bronx and parts of Westchester County, pulled the fire alarm. However, she did not provide a reason or clarify whether it was intentional. “Congressman Bowman did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote,” wrote Ms. Iddrissu. “The Congressman regrets any confusion.” She declined to provide further clarification.
Nevertheless, Republicans were quick to connect the fire alarm incident to the vote on the spending bill. During a press conference after the bill passed, Mr. McCarthy criticized Mr. Bowman, suggesting that he pulled the alarm to disrupt the proceedings. “When we found that an individual elected to Congress would pull a fire alarm, that’s a new low,” he stated.
Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican from New York, has prepared a motion to expel Mr. Bowman from the House, according to her office.
“This is the United States Congress, not a New York City high school,” wrote Ms. Malliotakis on X. “To pull the fire alarm to disrupt proceedings when we are trying to draft legislation to AVERT A SHUTDOWN is pathetic.”