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October 2, 2023

It's telling that after hearing for days about the cataclysm that would ensue if Congress didn’t pass a stopgap government funding bill, they did pass one just before the midnight Saturday deadline, and President Biden signed it…

…Yet all anyone is talking about is the side drama among the Representatives.

On the Democrat side, there’s male “Squad” member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who caused an interruption and building evacuation during the rushed negotiations by pulling a fire alarm.

Bowman first offered a rambling, incoherent explanation with more “homina-homina’s” than Ralph Kramdon, followed by a written statement claiming he mistakenly thought the fire alarm would open the doors. He claimed he was just trying to rush back to the Chamber to vote and found the doors marked “emergency exit only,” and was not by any means trying to delay the vote. Unfortunately for him, the whole thing was caught on video, and it doesn’t seem to match that story very closely. He apparently pulled signs off the doors warning that they were emergency exits only and threw them on the floor before pulling the clearly-labeled "FIRE alarm."

Critics pointed out that this requires us to believe either that Bowman is blind and didn’t see the signs, or he’s a former school principal who never saw a fire alarm before, or that he just can’t read, which I could maybe believe of a Squad member. AOC was even willing to vouch for how easy it is to get confused by things like “fire alarms” and “exit” signs, have a moment of panic when you can’t find your way out of a vestibule, and do something stupid.

Republicans suspect he was trying to delay the vote to buy Democrats more time or even to force a government shutdown that could be blamed on them. Matt Margolis of PJ Media even questioned the narrative that the bill’s passage was a win for Democrats, because they repeatedly tried to delay or stall the vote, signaling that they really wanted a shutdown.

Donald Trump tweeted that Bowman’s act was “a very dangerous ‘Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,’ the same as used against our J-6 prisoners. Actually, his act may have been worse. HE MUST SUFFER THEIR SAME FATE. WHEN WILL HIS TRIAL BEGIN???” This being DC, where laws only apply to Republicans, that likely won’t happen. But the incident is under investigation and a lot of Republicans are demanding some action against Bowman, even as harsh as expelling him.

FYI: Here’s why pulling that fire alarm might be a crime three times over.

Meanwhile, there’s also post-deal drama on the GOP side, with Rep. Matt Gaetz so angry at Speaker Kevin McCarthy for shepherding the bill that didn’t include any conservative priorities (but it didn’t include any more funds for Ukraine) that he’s launching another effort to remove him as Speaker. McCarthy responded, “Bring it on.”

Other Republicans are privately complaining about all this intra-party warfare when they have such a small majority. There was even a report that Gaetz was offering Democrats on the Biden impeachment inquiry committee subpoena power to help them shut it down in return for their support in ousting McCarthy, which Gaetz denied. As he should, because it would spell the end of his career in GOP politics.

My advice: This bill is just for 45 days. Spend the next month-and-a-half working on a better funding bill instead of forming circular firing squads.

Between all the back-biting, pulling fire alarms and violating the dress code, our Congress seems to be a collection of the oldest high school students since “Beverly Hills 90210.”

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