On June 2, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to rebuke New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman for “inexcusable conduct” in relation to his involvement with setting off a fire alarm in the Capitol Visitors Center while a congressional hearing was taking place.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn moved to censure Bowman and the motion was adopted by a 263 to 91 vote.
In a statement, Bowman expressed remorse for his behavior: “Yesterday I pulled a fire alarm in the Capitol in response to an urgent situation. I want to take the time to apologize for my inexcusable conduct. It was wrong and I accept full responsibility for my actions”.
The incident took place during a debate over Republican-backed discriminatory voter registration legislation. Bowman had attempted to enter the hearing, but was blocked at the door. He then set off the fire alarm, breaking the hearing and leading to an evacuation of the Capitol Visitors Center.
The censure resolution noted that the incident was a “direct violation of multiple House Rules and Guidelines, and has brought disrespect to the House and its Members.” It also expressed “the sense of the House of Representatives that Representative Jamaal Bowman should be censured for his inexcusable conduct on June 1, 2021″.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commented on the censure, saying “This action sends a clear message about the conduct that is expected of Members of the House.”