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Texas state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) with fellow Texas state representatives at a press conference on voting rights in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

More than 30 Texas House Democrats on Friday tore into a handful of their fellow Democrats, who returned to the capital this week, and accused Republicans of lying about the number of legislators present to re-establish quorum.

Why it matters: More than 50 House Democrats fled the state in July to prevent the GOP from passing new voting restrictions and urge federal action on voting rights. The 38-day standoff ended on Thursday after a small minority returned to the capital to continue the fight "from the inside."

  • Those who returned argued that their lobbying efforts with Congress were successful and that they needed to be in Texas to help stem the rise in COVID cases.

What they're saying: "We are disappointed that a few Democrats chose to return to the floor," the 30 Democrats said in a joint statement on Friday. "We feel betrayed and heartbroken, but our resolve is strong and this fight is not over."

  • "Heroes leading our school districts have defied Greg Abbott’s order and set local policy to protect millions of children and their families from COVID, but those brave efforts are now at risk if the Republican legislative majority has its way."

They also challenged the quorum's legitimacy, which they claim will now enable Republicans to "enact virtually all of Abbott's directives."

  • Several lawmakers who were marked as present were not actually in the state Capitol building on Thursday, though they had been in the chamber earlier this session, the Texas Tribune reports.
  • "Republicans will lie about the number of legislators present at the Capitol to establish quorum, keep Texans in the dark, and bend the rules to get their way," the Democrats said.
  • "We are proud to have fought for our constituents, everyday Texans, using every tool at our disposal, and will continue to do so wherever we may be."

What to watch: Republicans will aim to pass their restrictive voting bill before the current special session ends on Sept. 5. Advocates say it will disproportionately impact voters of color.

Go deeper

RNC woos Texas Latinos

A pro-Trump protester in Austin, Texas, after Joe Biden's victory. Photo: Sergio Flores/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is working to court more conservative Hispanic voters in south Texas, even as the state's GOP majority uses redistricting to blunt demographic changes that should be empowering Hispanic representation and helping Democrats.

Driving the news: The RNC is opening a Hispanic community center in San Antonio on Monday. It's the third such outreach center the party has opened in south Texas this year.

4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.

36 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.