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Rahm, welfare and soda-pop

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Rahm, welfare and soda-pop

On June 18th, Mayor Emanuel signed a letter along with 17 other mayors asking Congress to reconsider proposed cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). But there is one cut--not proposed by lawmakers--that Emanuel and his fellow mayors also want Congress to consider: reducing SNAP recipients’ ability to use the aid to by soft drinks. “It’s time to test and evaluate approaches limiting SNAP’s subsidization of products, such as sugar-sweet beverages, that are contributing to obesity,” states the letter to Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The letter said SNAP "can do more to address the pressing challenge of obesity and diet-related disease.” In Illinois, the issue would affect 2 million public aid recipients. We examine the issue with Dr. Sarah Pressman Lovinger, executive director of Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility, who says the government--as a public health issue--should minimize access to sugary sodas; and Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute, whose organization last year supported an excise tax on pop, the proceeds of which would support health measures. (Photo: Flickr/Stu_Spivack)

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