A motion to table the measure from the Democrats failed by a 216-201 vote. Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), who is the ranking member of the ethics panel that declined to investigate Bowman over the incident, voting “present.” Another 16 members did not vote.
Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) introduced the censure resolution on Tuesday as “privileged,” prompting House leadership to act on the measure within two legislative days. Debate on the censure resolution has begun and a final vote is expected to take place as soon as Thursday. “Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included,” McClain said.
Today, I introduced a PRIVILEGED RESOLUTION to censure Representative Bowman for knowingly causing a false alarm of a fire while the House worked to avert a government shutdown.
Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included. pic.twitter.com/nMfgOq8uxv
— Representative Lisa McClain (@RepLisaMcClain) December 5, 2023
Bowman took a plea deal on a misdemeanor count of falsely pulling a fire alarm that resulted in a temporary evacuation of the Cannon House Office Building in late September ahead of a government spending vote. The congressman has apologized for the incident and denied that he pulled the fire alarm as a delay tactic.
“Unfortunately, Republicans are here trying to rehash an already litigated matter, a matter in which the Republican-controlled House committee of ethics decided to not proceed with any further investigation,” Bowman said during debate on the censure resolution. “This is an insult to the people I was elected to represent.”
McClain, in advocating for her resolution, said in a post to X, “Actions must be met with consequences. Rep. Bowman pulling a fire alarm to curtail an act of Congress was unacceptable and against the law. For that, he must stand before Congress and accept Censure.”
Last week, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) moved to force a House vote to expel Bowman, but the embattled New York Republican got expelled the next day. His expulsion followed the release of a scathing House Ethics Committee report. Santos also faces 23 federal charges — including aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy — to which he has pleaded not guilty.
A censure against a member of the House is essentially a formal rebuke of that lawmaker. It is a less severe form of punishment than expulsion. House members who have been censured this year include Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).