The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Family Juuls

The FDA Commissioner and vaping foe is unexpectedly stepping down. Plus: The Secretary of Homeland Security defended Trump’s national-emergency declaration.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb at his confirmation hearing (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, March 6. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, defending President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. Nielsen was also questioned about the administration’s controversial immigration policies, including parent-child separations, and said that at its current pace, the Department of Homeland Security is on track to “encounter close to one million” migrants at the southern border by the end of the fiscal year.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Not All Heroes Use Vapes: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb unexpectedly announced Tuesday that he will leave the agency in April. He’s been one of the country’s most powerful opponents of e-cigarettes and vaping, reports Amanda Mull, and his departure means that tobacco companies could face less regulation—and that teenagers could be more exposed to addiction.

The Long-Term Effects of Disaster: The tornado that swept through Lee County, Alabama, over the weekend killed 23 people and destroyed dozens of homes. And its impacts could be much more far-reaching: A new study of mothers in New York City who gave birth soon after Hurricane Sandy found that such natural disasters can affect the stress levels of babies in utero, and amplify the mother’s prenatal depression. Recovering from natural disasters is often more difficult for low-income communities and communities of color. Weeks after Hurricane Florence, low-income renters in New Bern, North Carolina, still faced moldy, unlivable apartments, and an NPR investigation found that federal disaster aid goes disproportionately to wealthy, white Americans.

What’s Prague to Do?: The Chinese telecoms giant Huawei wants to roll out 5G wireless technology all across Central Europe, which the U.S. worries might opens doors to chinese government spying. Central Europe has landed at the heart of the U.S.-China trade war, as countries have to ask themselves: Should they decline the technology and stand with the U.S., or become business partners with the growing economic giant of China? Amidst these tensions, President Trump will meet Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the White House tomorrow.

This Means War: Since new governor Gavin Newsom took office, California’s resistance against the Trump administration has grown into “total war.” Newsom has called the president’s border wall “a national disgrace.” He’s pursuing a climate-change policy at odds with the administration’s. The state’s attorney general has sued the Trump administration 46 times in the past two years. Meanwhile, California’s once powerful Republican Party has fractured. Just what is going on inside America’s most populous state?


Reverend Arthur Thomas, right, of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, is embraced by Greg Zanis who built a cross for each victim of the tornado and placed them as a makeshift memorial in Beauregard, Alabama. Thomas said several of the dead were members of his congregation. (David Goldman / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

The New Deal Wasn’t What You Think (Louis Hyman)
“The story about the New Deal we have in our heads—that it was tax-and-spend liberalism at its worst (if you are conservative) or best (if you are liberal)—may obscure policy opportunities today. We can spend taxpayer money to address climate change, and we probably should, but that is not the only option. If we are going to fund a Green New Deal, we need to acknowledge how the original New Deal actually worked.” → Read on.

Socially Acceptable Anti-Semitism (Eliot A. Cohen)
“What is particularly scary now is that Jew hatred seems to bring with it no real penalties—indeed, it feeds waves of indignation that haters can use to their advantage.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

‘It Is Like High School’: Meet the House’s Freshman Cliques (Melanie Zanona, Sarah Ferris, and Heather Caygle, Politico)
The Democrats Have a Culture Problem (Ross Douthat, The New York Times) (🔒Paywall)
Pramila Jayapal Is Congress’s Activist Insider (Ella Nilsen, Vox)
Sheriff Says ‘Scared Straight’ Program Helps Troubled Kids. Experts Say It’s Child Abuse. (Tracy Kimball and Ames Alexander, The Charlotte Observer) (🔒Paywall)
In 1998, I Helped Convict Two Men of Murder. I’ve Regretted It Ever Since. (Seth Stevenson, Slate)

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