WASHINGTON D.C.—On September 30, with just hours to spare before a government shutdown had to be declared, the U.S. Senate assembled in an attempt to pass a bipartisan spending bill when Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) pulled the fire alarm causing chaos on the Senate floor.

Bronx Photo By Michael B. Via Unsplash

Rep. Bowman defended his actions indicating that he could not open the door he was attempting to get through. In a statement Rep. Bowman made the following remarks.

“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open. I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused,” and reiterated in his statement that he did not, “In any way try to delay the vote.”

According to reports, Rep. Bowman, 47, was born in Manhattan, New York, and group up in a home in East Harlem with his grandmother. Bowman formerly worked as an educator prior to being elected Rep. of New York’s 16th Congressional District in 2021. Bowman serves Westchester County, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and part of the Bronx.

In a CNN interview with Neil Cavuto, Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) suggested Bowman could have potentially purposely pulled the alarm to prevent the House from being able to create a Quorum [Minimum Number of Voters needed] to vote on the spending bill.  

The Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the situation, “Serious,” suggesting Rep. Bowman “should be investigated.” McCarthy told reporters that, “This is an embarrassment,” and “Should not go without punishment.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, also from New York, defended her fellow Representative from her home state, in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, making light of the incident, saying that Bowman just had a “moment of panic.”

A temporary U.S. Spending bill did pass the Senate Saturday night with three hours to spare in an 88-9 vote to keep the government funded until November 17, 2023.