WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, challenged members of Congress this week to end tax deductions for companies that sell junk food to children.
"Did you know that we're actually giving tax deductions out to big companies that go ahead and advertise and market products that contribute to childhood obesity?" Kucinich asked in a floor speech on the day that Hostess Brands filed in bankruptcy court for permission to liquidate the company.
Kucinich introduced a bill ending deductions for junk-food companies and said such a move would help avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, The Hill reported Saturday.
Economists have warned the budget plan agreed to in 2011 -- allowing the debt ceiling to be raised in exchange for spending cuts and an end to tax rate cuts enacted during the administration of former President George W. Bush -- would send the economy over a "fiscal cliff."
The combination of spending cuts and higher tax rates would put the recovering economy back into a recession, economists have warned.
Hostess Brands is the maker of Twinkies, Ho-Hos and Wonder Bread. It said this week it does not have the resources to weather a strike by 5,000 bakers that has temporarily closed its production facilities.
"So what I'm doing is introducing a bill right now that would protect children's health by denying any deduction for advertising and marketing that's directed at children to promote the consumption of food at fast-food restaurants or any kind of food of poor nutritional quality," Kucinich said.
"When this bill becomes law, if it's adopted in the negotiations to avoid a fiscal cliff, we can find a way not only to reduce childhood obesity by blocking these deductions for the advertising, but we can also enable our children's health to be put on a better path, and our country's health to be put on a better path," he said.