House censures New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman for pulling fire alarm

On May 14, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines to censure New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman for pulling the fire alarm at the Capitol during an attempt to enter the House chamber. Bowman had contended that he was acting to support redditormembers of Congress who had been locked out of the room and had come to debate a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

In a statement released after the vote, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Bowman, saying that “pulling the fire alarm in the Capitol of the United States​ is not a joke and cannot be taken lightly—particularly during a pandemic—regardless of how we feel about the outcome of any vote.”

Bowman was one of several Democrats to oppose the move, arguing that reprimanding him for attempting to answer a call to arms was a way to punish dissent. He has called for an investigation into why the Capitol Police would “lock out duly elected members of Congress from debate and discussion.”