Representative Jamal Bowman, Democrat of New York, sounded the fire alarm in the House Cannon office building on Saturday as his party tried to delay a vote on a stopgap spending bill, prompting the evacuation of the building and the Capitol Police and Investigations House Executive Committee.
The warning was prompted as Democrats in the Capitol stalled a vote on a spending measure to keep the government open for another 45 days. Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled the bill minutes earlier, and Democrats scrambled to read the bill and decide whether or not to support it. Later in the day, the bill passed 335 to 91, with more Democrats than Republicans voting for it.
In a statement released Saturday night, Mr. Bowman said. Rushing to the Capitol to vote, he said, he came upon an unlocked door in the Cannon Building.
“I am ashamed to admit that I set off the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this may have caused,” Mr Bowman said. “But I want to be very clear: it was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote. It was the exact opposite – I tried to vote hastily.
He added that after the incident, he met with the sergeant and the Capitol Police at their request to explain what had happened.
The House Administration Committee has opened an investigation into why the alarm was triggered, its chairman, Rep. Brian Steele, Republican of Wisconsin, said in a statement. The building was briefly evacuated, Capitol Police said. “The investigation into what happened and why is ongoing,” said a police spokesman, Paul Starks.
Republicans were quick to link the alarm to a vote on the spending bill. At a news conference after the spending measure was passed, Mr. McCarthy Mr. Criticized Bowman, who sounded the alarm in an attempt to stop the proceedings. “When we find out that a person elected to Congress will pull the fire alarm, that’s a new low,” he said.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, Republican of New York, said Mr. His office said he had drafted a motion to expel Bowman from the House.
“This is the United States Congress, not a New York City high school,” Ms. Malliotakis said Wrote in X. “It is pathetic to pull the fire alarm to disrupt proceedings when we are trying to legislate to avoid a strike.”