On Thursday, the House formally censured Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-New York), for causing a false alarm in a House office building by triggering a fire alarm when there was no actual emergency.

Censure does not involve any specific punishment apart from publicly reprimanding the lawmaker. It is a less severe consequence compared to expulsion.

Censure, a process that is not so commonly used, has been employed by Republicans to censure two Democrats in addition to Bowman since June. Bowman becomes the third individual to be censured since the GOP assumed control of the chamber. The censure resolution, led by the GOP, secured a majority vote of 214 to 191.

After the resolution was passed, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) summoned Bowman to come forward in the House chamber and publicly declared the censure. A group of Democratic legislators surrounded Bowman during this event.


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Bowman was captured on video activating a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building towards the end of September, just before the House was set to vote on a bill regarding government funding. As a result, the building was promptly cleared. The representative later termed his actions “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 had said in his defense. “I was just trying to get to my vote and the door that’s usually open wasn’t open, it was closed.”

Bowman faced legal consequences in October when the attorney general of D.C. charged him with staging the incident. Eventually, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for intentionally setting off a fire alarm in a House office building.

Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Michigan) introduced the resolution to censure Bowman. “Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included,” she said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

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