The incident, which was caught on camera and has since circulated far and wide, has sent Capitol lawmakers and their staffs into a tizzy as they semi-seriously try to understand why Bowman would think a clearly marked fire alarm would open a door.
Bowman put out a statement claiming that, while in a rush to make it on time to vote for a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open, he 'activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door.'
While fellow left-wing New Yorker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leapt to Bowman's defense Sunday, Republicans have been skeptical, with many noting the huge warning signs on the handle of the alarm and on a nearby door.
'This is not confusing at all,' Justin Amash, a former anti-Trump Republican Congressman, wrote on social media. 'There's a push bar on the door below the sign. Members of Congress see these signs all the time and know exactly what they mean.'
Bowman put out a statement claiming that, while in a rush to make it on time to vote for a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open, he 'activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door'
Amash was responding to People's Policy Project Founder Matt Bruenig, who found the sign in front of the alarm confusing and believing Bowman felt he had to pull the alarm to exit, wondering: 'What am I missing?'
Journalist Patrick Casey added: 'Jamaal Bowman pulling the fire alarm because he’s incapable of reading this extremely common and not at all confusing sign is a million times funnier than him pulling it to stop the vote, just incredible stuff.'
Another X user pointed out: 'His job is to read and vote on bills written in 1000x more confusing manner.'
Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene believes Bowman is lying about the excuse.
'He knows exactly what pulling a fire alarm means,' Greene wrote. 'He did it while the Dems were trying to stall for time for the Senate and the Dem whip had just called for a motion to adjourn.'
Both Greene and former President Donald Trump have called for Bowman to be treated like the protesters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
'His egregious act is covered on tape, a horrible display of nerve and criminality. It was a very dangerous 'Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,' the same as used against our J-6 prisoners,' Trump wrote on Truth Social.
'Actually, his act may have been worse. HE MUST SUFFER THEIR SAME FATE. WHEN WILL HIS TRIAL BEGIN???'
Both Marjorie Taylor Greene and former President Donald Trump have called for Bowman to be treated like the protesters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021
Bowman is now being investigated after the incident that unfolded during chaotic scenes on Capitol Hill on Saturday as the deadline loomed to avert what seemed like an inevitable shutdown.
The House passed a short-term solution to keep the government funded for 45 days without additional funding for Ukraine, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy turning to Democrats to help him push it through. It went to the Senate, which was set to vote on Saturday night.
With the Republicans in disarray, Bowman quickly became the center of a firestorm over what he insists was a simple mistake that he thought would 'open a door'.
The former school principal, who would have conducted dozens of fire drills during his career, is facing a Republican threat of expulsion and an investigation by the Capitol Police.
'I thought the alarm would open the door,' Bowman told reporters about the incident.
'I was rushing to make a vote, I was trying to get to a door.'
'[Bowman] pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning,' a spokesperson for the Congressional Administration Committee said. 'An investigation into why it was pulled is underway.'
Bowman called the notion that he pulled the fire alarm to delay a vote 'complete BS.'
Meanwhile, Speaker Kevin McCarthy dared his conservative critics to try to oust him as they have long threatened in a press conference after the vote.
'If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,' the speaker said. 'There has to be an adult in the room.'
He also said there should be an Ethics Committee investigation into Bowman's actions.
The House managed to pass a short-term solution to keep the government funded for 45 days without additional funding for Ukraine, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy turning to Democrats to help him push it through
'I'm going to have a discussion with the Democratic Leader about it, but this should not go without punishment.'
Republicans, led by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, N.Y., are now working on a resolution to expel Bowman from Congress, and Capitol Police were circulating a photo of what appeared to be Bowman pulling the alarm.
Bowman's antics led to an evacuation of the building, which came as House representatives were readying to vote on a bill that would avert a government shutdown less than 12 hours before a deadline.
The bill passed in a 335-91 vote, and now heads to the Senate. It will keep the government funded for 45 days.