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Rep. Filemon Vela, 2014. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Filemon Vela, who represents a southern Texas border district and is vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, will not run for re-election to the House next year.

Why it matters: Vela won his seat with 55% of the vote in 2020 and is the first Texas Democrat to announce he's leaving the House ahead of redistricting next year.

  • "I will not be seeking reelection to the House of Representatives in 2022," Vela said in a statement. "I will continue to focus on maintaining a Democratic House and Senate Majority in my capacity as a member of Congress and Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, while working diligently for the people I am so grateful to represent."
  • His district includes Donna, where temporary overflow facilities, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, reveal the crowded, makeshift conditions at the border, according to photos provided to Axios.

The big picture: With population changes reflected in the 2020 census, the country’s 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be reapportioned among the states ahead of the 2022 congressional elections.

  • States led by Republican governors — and GOP state legislatures, which in many cases redraw congressional maps — should receive more seats than Democratic states.
  • Texas, for example, saw its population grow by some 4.2 million since 2010, giving the state potentially three more seats.
  • Redistricting is expected to help Republicans close the gap on the number of seats they need to win to recapture the majority.

Vela, who is serving in his fifth term, has close connections to the White House and was in contention for a Cabinet position.

  • President Biden appointed his wife, Rose Vela, a retired Texas state district judge and Texas appellate justice, to run the president’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza on May 13, 2021. Israeli forces said on May 12 they had killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings. Gaza's health ministry has said children are among the dead. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It come days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Don McGahn agrees to closed-door interview with House panel on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about former President Trump's alleged attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.

4 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 pandemic was "preventable disaster," WHO-commissioned report says

A health worker gives a COVID-19 test to a woman in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

The COVID-19 pandemic was a "preventable disaster" that exposed weak links "at every point" of the preparedness process, according to a World Health Organization-commissioned report published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response criticized governments worldwide for being unprepared for the pandemic despite the prevalence of past "global health threats," such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS outbreaks.