The mayors of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and 15 other cities sent a letter to congressional leaders saying it’s time to stop the purchase of soda and other sugary beverages with food stamps in the interest of public health. "We need to find ways to strengthen the program and promote good nutrition while limiting the use of these resources for items with no nutritional value, like sugary drinks, that are actually harming the health of participants,” read a statement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The American Beverage Association says sugary drinks shouldn’t be singled out as the sole cause of obesity, and calls obesity “a complex health condition that affects Americans of all income levels.” Last year, more than 47 million Americans relied on aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Senate has passed a Farm Bill that reduces SNAP funding, and the House will consider its own version of the bill that includes greater cuts to SNAP this week.