(DailyVantage.com) – New York Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman claimed that he accidentally pulled the fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building just before the House voted on the continuing resolution, CNN reported.
Images from surveillance footage in Cannon captured Bowman pulling the fire alarm, in what some lawmakers suspected was an attempt to delay the vote at a time when Democrats were attempting to buy themselves more time ahead of the vote.
Faced with photographic proof, Bowman subsequently admitted he did it but told ABC News that it was an “innocent mistake.”
Bowman claimed that in his rush to get to the House chamber for the vote, he thought the fire alarm on the wall, clearly marked “FIRE,” would open the locked door he typically uses to go from his office to the Capitol.
The former Middle School principal claimed not to know that pulling a fire alarm would “trigger the whole building.”
According to a spokesperson for the US Capitol Police, Bowman pulled the fire alarm on the second floor at 12:05 p.m. The building was subsequently evacuated. It reopened after officers determined it was a false alarm. The USCP is investigating the incident.
After the House passed the continuing resolution, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that the House Ethics Committee should look into the incident.
McCarthy called Bowman’s actions “an embarrassment” and said they should not go unpunished. He suggested that by pulling the fire alarm hours before a government shutdown, Bowman was attempting to “dictate” a shutdown.
Michigan Republican Rep. Lisa McClain told CNN that she was circulating a resolution censuring Bowman over the incident and had already gotten co-sponsors.
For his part, Bowman insisted that he wasn’t trying to delay Saturday’s vote. He said in a statement that he pulled the fire alarm to do “the exact opposite,” namely, get to the House chamber more quickly so he could cast his vote.
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