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House advances GOP resolution to censure Democratic Rep. Bowman over pulling fire alarm

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(WASHINGTON) — The House on Wednesday advanced a Republican resolution to censure Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman for pulling a fire alarm, teeing up a final vote on Thursday.

A Democratic motion to table the censure resolution failed by a vote of 201-216.

Bowman has admitted pulling a fire alarm before the House voted on a spending measure to avert a government shutdown in September.

Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., introduced the censure resolution as privileged on Tuesday — giving the House two legislative days to vote on it. McClain’s resolution says if Bowman is censured, he must appear in the well of the House to be publicly reprimanded.

“Nobody is above the law, Congressmen included,” McClain said in a statement on X.

Bowman was caught on video pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building on Sept. 30 — the day the House voted on funding the government. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for falsely triggering the fire alarm.

A censure resolution is a formal reprimand by the House for violations of the House code of conduct. A vote to censure a member of the House does not hold any power beyond a public condemnation of the member’s behavior. It does not deny the member privileges.

Censuring House members has been historically rare, but lately members from both political parties have used it as a political tool.

To date, only four House members have been censured in the 21st century and 26 members total have been censured in U.S. history, according to the Office of the House historian.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was censured for her inflammatory comments about Israel in November by a vote of 234-188.

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