Republican Missouri Rep. Jason Smith said Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman needs to be held accountable for attempting to disrupt a House floor vote by pulling the fire alarm.
A released image from security footage showed Bowman pulling the alarm in the Cannon House Office Building as members of his party scrambled to delay a vote on a Republican funding package. The incident occurred just hours before the midnight close of the 2023 fiscal year Saturday.
The congressman could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail as it is unlawful to “wilfully or knowingly give a false alarm of fire within the District of Columbia,” according to a District law.
Democrats attempted to slow-walk the vote on a funding bill because it did not include measures to support Ukraine, Smith said in a Sunday interview.
“We even had a member of Congress that pulled a fire alarm during a vote. It sounds like obstructing official proceedings, but they did all kinds of tactics to slow it down because they wanted the Ukraine funding,” Smith told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
Bowman obstructed an official proceeding and should face the consequences, Smith said. (RELATED: Dem Rep Who Pulled Fire Alarm Before House Vote Previously Warned ‘Catastrophic’ Shutdown Would Put Lives At Risk)
“He better be because that’s exactly what happened on January 6th, according to Biden’s Justice Department. So let’s see how they treat their own member of Congress,” Smith said regarding Bowman possibly being held accountable.
Bowman said he is “embarrassed to admit” he set off the fire alarm with the intention of getting the door to open. He denied accusations he attempted to delay the floor vote by setting off the alarm.
“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open,” Bowman said in his Saturday statement. “I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused. But I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote.”
“It was the exact opposite–I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did and joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep our government open,” Bowman continued.
Statement from Congressman Jamaal Bowman. pic.twitter.com/v6qjdHNI7T
— Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) October 1, 2023
Republican New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis announced her plan to file a resolution to expel Bowman from the House for allegedly committing a federal crime. Republican New York Rep. Nick Langworthy also called for a criminal investigation to be conducted into the fire alarm incident.
“I’ll tell you this much, what he did was a federal crime and I’m putting in a resolution to expel him from Congress. I hope he’s gonna be charged with the federal crime that he committed today,” Malliotakis said.
Following the vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters he was “appalled” by the “Democrats’ actions” to delay the vote.
“I was really appalled watching Democrats’ actions today, to delay it to get to a shutdown,” McCarthy said. “But when we found that an individual elected to Congress would pull a fire alarm, that’s a new low. We’ve watched how people have been treated if they’ve done something wrong in this Capitol. It will be interesting to see how he is treated on what he was trying to obstruct when it came to the American public.”
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to Bowman’s defense during a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper by criticizing Republicans for standing by New York Rep. George Santos.
The funding bill to keep the government open until Nov. 17 passed the House in a 335 to 91 vote, which, after the Senate passed the bill, President Joe Biden signed into law.