House censures New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman for pulling fire alarm
On January 14, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to formally censure New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman for activating a fire alarm during a vote in the House chamber on January 6, 2021.
Bowman had pulled the fire alarm in an attempt to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. A bipartisan majority of lawmakers voted in support of the measure, with only one voting in opposition and nine members abstaining.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Bowman’s actions “an unacceptable breach of decorum,” and noted that it “endangered lives” and “distracted from the business of the people.” The resolution also instructs the Clerk of the House of Representatives to issue a formal apology to the Washington, D.C. Fire Department.
The resolution is nonbinding, meaning it carries no official penalty for Bowman. However, the public censure reinforces House rules and serves as a signal to all members of the House that violations of chamber decorum will not be tolerated.