The Cannon house office building was temporarily evacuated. Capitol Police said in a statement Saturday that it was investigating the matter.
Republican lawmakers say Bowman potentially broke the law or violated ethics rules and should face stiff consequences.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene described what happened in a video posted on social media, saying she heard the alarm going off as she watched the House session from her office. At the time, Democrats were calling for a motion to adjourn. This was an effort to hold off a vote on legislation to avert a government shutdown because Democratic lawmakers said they and their staff needed more time to read Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal.
“This is while an official proceeding is happening on the House floor,” Greene, a Rome Republican, said about the alarm incident. “Well, let’s talk about what that is. That’s violating a law. That is the exact same law that that January 6 defendants are being prosecuted by the Department of Justice every single day.”
The bill to thwart a shutdown ultimately passed in a bipartisan fashion with all but one Democrat in favor along with more than half of Republicans. The measure is now pending in the Senate, and without swift passage agencies will run out of funding at midnight.
Pulling a fire alarm when there is no emergency is illegal, although the severity of the potential charges can vary by jurisdiction. But Republicans say Bowman was attempting to disrupt the House session, which is a more serious charge.
“We need to move to expel him from Congress,” said Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican from Tifton, according to Punchbowl News.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that the Ethics Committee should look into the matter and called it a serious allegation that “should not go without punishment.” McCarthy said he would have a discussion with Democratic Leader Jeffries to urge him to discipline his fellow Democrat.
“This is embarrassing,” said McCarthy during a press conference. “You’re elected to be a member of Congress. You pull the fire alarm?”
The vote on McCarthy’s government funding bill was called just minutes after he announced his plan and released its 71 pages of text. Democrats said they lacked trust and wanted time to review the measure, but McCarthy pushed for a quick floor vote.
After the motion to adjourn, Jeffries delivered an hourlong floor speech as another tactic to delay the vote.
He later dodged a question about Bowman during a post-vote press conference. Jeffries, who like Bowman represents a portion of New York City, said he had not reviewed the surveillance video and wouldn’t comment until he did.
Other Democrats were similarly mum, with most members releasing statements focused on the successful passage of the stopgap spending bill.