House advances GOP move to censure Democratic Rep. Bowman over pulling fire alarm

The House on Wednesday advanced a Republican resolution to censure Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman for pulling a fire alarm, teeing up a final vote on Thursday.

A Democratic motion to table the censure resolution failed by a vote of 201-216.

Bowman has admitted pulling a fire alarm before the House voted on a spending measure to avert a government shutdown in September.

Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., introduced the censure resolution as privileged on Tuesday — giving the House two legislative days to vote on it. McClain’s resolution says if Bowman is censured, he must appear in the well of the House to be publicly reprimanded.

MORE: Rep. Bowman pleads guilty after pulling fire alarm ahead of House spending bill vote

house advances gop move to censure democratic rep. bowman over pulling fire alarm

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., listens during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing, Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington.

“Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included,” McClain said in a statement on X.

Bowman was caught on video pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building on Sept. 30 — the day the House voted on funding the government. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for falsely triggering the fire alarm.

MORE: Pro-Israel Democrat to challenge US Rep. Jamaal Bowman in primary race next year

A censure resolution is a formal reprimand by the House for violations of the House code of conduct. A vote to censure a member of the House does not hold any power beyond a public condemnation of the member’s behavior. It does not deny the member privileges.

Censuring House members has been historically rare, but lately members from both political parties have used it as a political tool.

house advances gop move to censure democratic rep. bowman over pulling fire alarm

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., listens to fellow speakers before President Joe Biden speaks during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, May 10, 2023, in Valhalla, N.Y.

To date, only four House members have been censured in the 21st century and 26 members total have been censured in U.S. history, according to the Office of the House historian.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was censured for her inflammatory comments about Israel in November by a vote of 234-188.

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