(Bloomberg) -- The US House voted Thursday largely along party lines to censure Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman for pulling a fire alarm without cause in a Capitol Hill office building.
The resolution sponsored by Representative Lisa McClain of Michigan, a junior Republican party leader, accused the New York lawmaker of disrupting the work of Congress by pulling the alarm as the House was taking a vote in September related to averting a US government shutdown.
Bowman has said he pulled the alarm by mistake in an effort to open an exit door to get to the vote in the Capitol building.
The censure resolution passed 214 to 191, with only three Democrats voting in favor. It required Bowman to stand at the front of the House chamber while the resolution rebuking him was read aloud but doesn’t carry other penalties.
Bowman pleaded guilty in October to a criminal misdemeanor charge related to the false alarm, agreeing to pay a $1,000 fine and serve three months of probation. The House Ethics Committee declined last month to pursue an investigation.
Censure is a form of official rebuke that historically hadn’t often been used—the House has only ever censured 26 of its members, including Bowman. But the Republican majority this year has increasingly turned to the legislative action to express disapproval of lawmakers’ conduct.
The House this year censured Democrat Adam Schiff for alleged misrepresentations in investigations of Donald Trump that led to the former president’s impeachment and Democrat Rashida Tlaib over her condemnation of Israel in its war against Hamas.
Bowman derided the censure resolution as showing House Republicans to be “deeply unserious.” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the repeated GOP-backed censures of Democratic members are “worthless” and have “no credibility, no integrity, no legitimacy.”
But Representative Mike Lawler, who helped lead the charge to expel fellow New York Republican George Santos, defended the censure.
“I was willing to take on a member of my own party because he was unfit to serve,” he said on the social media site X. “I’m voting to censure my Westchester County neighbor Jamaal Bowman because what he did on September 30th was wrong.”
--With assistance from Billy House and Maeve Sheehey.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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