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Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulls fire alarm ahead of House vote to fund government

House passes 45-day funding bill
House passes 45-day funding bill, sends it to Senate for final approval 00:53

Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York pulled the fire alarm in a Capitol office building on Saturday ahead of a crucial, last-minute House vote that ultimately avert a government shutdown, his office confirmed.

In a statement late Saturday night, Bowman said that he was "rushing to make" the vote and "came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open."

He said he was "embarrassed to admit that" he "activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door."

He went on to say that he was not "in any way trying to delay any vote. It was the exact opposite — I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I did."

He added that he met with both the Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police following the incident.

U.S. Capitol Police confirmed in an earlier statement that the fire alarm caused an evacuation of the Cannon office building at 12:05 p.m. Eastern time. The building was evacuated while Capitol police officers checked it, and the building was reopened after it was determined that there was no threat. 

"An investigation into what happened and why continues," that statement said. 

The House voted 335-91 on Saturday on a bipartisan stopgap spending measure to fund the government for 45 days, a dramatic last-minute vote that will stop a government shutdown that had seemed all but inevitable just hours earlier. The bill was later pased by an 88-9 margin in the Senate, just about three hours a midnight Saturday deadline to avoid a shutdown. 

The GOP-led House Administration Committee said Saturday that an investigation was already underway into Bowman pulling the fire alarm. 

Calling the incident "serious," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters he would be speaking to Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries about the incident and that he was going to ask the House Ethics Committee to look into it. 

"This is an embarrassment," McCarthy said. "You're elected to be a member of Congress. You pulled a fire alarm in a minute of hours before the government being shut down? Trying to dictate the government would shut down? What's going through a person's mind like that? But we will find the right ability to deal with this." 

Jeffries told reporters that he hadn't seen the video of the incident yet. 

Keshia Butts contributed to this report.  

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