06/21/2013 01:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rahm Emanuel, Food Stamps And Soda: Mayor Interested In Curbing Soda Purchases Made With SNAP

Whether you call it soda, pop, Coke or fizz, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn't sure you should be able to purchase it with funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

In a letter sent to congressional leaders on Tuesday, Emanuel and mayors of 17 other cities urged lawmakers to look into limiting the use of SNAP subsidies — commonly known as food stamps — to buy soda, according to NBC Chicago.

(See the letter signed by Rahm Emanuel and others, below)

The letter, which included signatures from the mayors of L.A., New York City, San Francisco and Salt Lake City, was written to Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi out of concern for proposed cuts to the SNAP program.

While urging lawmakers to preserve funding, the mayors also wrote:

"We also believe the program can do more to address the pressing challenge of obesity and diet-related disease ... It is time to testand evaluate approaches limiting SNAP’s subsidization of products, such as sugar-sweetened beverages,that are contributing to obesity."

Emanuel's move breaks from earlier decisions made over access to sugary drinks: The Tribune notes the mayor has "refused to ban soda from City Hall vending machines and has not joined the push to limit the size of sugary drinks people can buy, citing the importance of 'personal responsibility.'"

Additionally, WGN reports the mayor's office has accepted "millions of dollars from soft drink companies for health care and recycling programs."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture shot down a similar request in 2010, according to NBC. Currently, SNAP subsidies cannot be used to buy alcohol, cigarettes and hot foods and certain other items.

Snap Letter to House 6-18-13



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