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house Bill H.R. 1687

Taxing Sugary Drinks to Curb Diet-Related Illness

Argument in favor

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest contributor to obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illnesses in the U.S. Taxing those beverages to raise money for prevention and treatment would save lives and money.

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06/15/2015
Like it or not, America has an obesity problem. A necessary evil that could curb that trend has become necessary and should be enacted.
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Jamie's Opinion
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07/01/2015
While you should be able to drink any beverage you desire in general you should also be aware of the cost to the public to care for ongoing disease caused by poor choice.
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Alis's Opinion
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06/13/2015
If you think the government should not tell people what to drink AND you oppose the ACA, you are idiot with your head in the sand. There are health consequences of making all the food that is affordable to poor people the type of food that most damages health. There is micro & macro economic fallout from having a large a population of sick people that cannot afford health care. Who is going to work at Walmart or buy the Chinese crap they sell if they are all chronically ill? Use your brains & earn the $172,000 you get paid every year!
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Argument opposed

The bill picks winners and losers by unfairly singling out one source of sugar while ignoring many others. Consumers don't need the government telling them what to drink.

Elinor's Opinion
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04/26/2015
Only "sugary" drinks? Hmmm. If you claim (yeah, right!) that the purpose is to prevent diabetes and obesity, start banning all alcoholic beverages. Alcohol shoots blood glucose levels sky high! But, WAIT! That was tried already and resulted in a national nightmare. So this is NOT about health. It's about another way to increase taxes! Consider, too, that the those "do-gooders" who claim this is vital to protect anyone from destroying his/her health need to mind their own collective business. How many ways can you spell NANNY STATE, and by how many ways do you "liberals" intend to encroach upon our right to self-determination! "Liberals"? You are only liberal with MY MONEY! In all other ways, you Nazis and thought police continue to try to control every aspect of our lives. NO NEW TAXES AND NO TAX INCREASES!! BUTT OUT!!
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Richard's Opinion
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06/22/2015
The government should not be in the business of behavior modification.
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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07/07/2015
This one is simple: taxing food items will not stop people from using them or close alternatives. We are all individually responsible for our own health.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1687?

H.R. 5279 would impose a 1-cent tax on each teaspoon of sugar in (most) sweetened beverages. 

That would mean roughly 10 cents for a 12-ounce can of soda and 16 cents for a 20-ounce bottle. Known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014 or SWEET Act, this bill would levy a federal excise tax on manufacturers, producers and importers of sugary beverages. 

The bill assumes that the tax would be passed along to consumers, causing them to ultimately drink less sugar. It exempts milk, soy and rice beverages as well as 100% fruit and vegetable juices.

Revenue raised from the tax — estimated at up to $10 billion annually — would go to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created by the Affordable Care Act. There, the funds would be used to prevent, treat and research diet-related health conditions in low-income, minority and youth populations.

Impact

Consumers, sellers, manufacturers, producers, and importers of sugary beverages.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1687

The CBO does not have a cost estimate at this time.

More Information

In Depth:

The average American drinks nearly 45 gallons of sugar-sweetened beverages every year — the equivalent to 39 pounds of extra sugar. Obesity and diet-related illnesses are responsible for an estimated $190 billion in annual health care costs. These ailments disproportionately impact low-income, minority and youth populations.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in support of her bill noted:

"People want to be healthy and they want their kids to be healthy. But we are in the midst of dual epidemics, with obesity and diabetes afflicting our nation and the related, astronomical health care costs. There is a clear relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and a host of other health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay. We are at a crucial tipping point and the SWEET Act will help correct the path we are currently on."

Opponents of the SWEET Act think the food police should pay more attention to their own doughnut consumption — and to other culprits of obesity and diet-related illnesses — and stop profiling sugary beverages as the only suspects in the war on sugar. They argue that consumers don't need a nanny state telling them what they should be eating. People who consume sugary beverages, they contend, may consume less total sugar than someone who eats any number of foods containing high levels of sugar.

Although supporters hope to shake things up and cause interest in the issue to bubble over into action, the reception in Congress so far has been flat, reflecting the sentiment of a public that doesn't want taxes that single out certain unhealthy foods. A recent Rasmussen Reports survey found that only 20% of Americans support a tax on sugar.

Media:

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore)

AKA

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, to dedicate the revenues from such tax to the prevention, treatment, and research of diet-related health conditions in priority populations, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedMarch 26th, 2015
    Like it or not, America has an obesity problem. A necessary evil that could curb that trend has become necessary and should be enacted.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    This one is simple: taxing food items will not stop people from using them or close alternatives. We are all individually responsible for our own health.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    The government should not be in the business of behavior modification.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Only "sugary" drinks? Hmmm. If you claim (yeah, right!) that the purpose is to prevent diabetes and obesity, start banning all alcoholic beverages. Alcohol shoots blood glucose levels sky high! But, WAIT! That was tried already and resulted in a national nightmare. So this is NOT about health. It's about another way to increase taxes! Consider, too, that the those "do-gooders" who claim this is vital to protect anyone from destroying his/her health need to mind their own collective business. How many ways can you spell NANNY STATE, and by how many ways do you "liberals" intend to encroach upon our right to self-determination! "Liberals"? You are only liberal with MY MONEY! In all other ways, you Nazis and thought police continue to try to control every aspect of our lives. NO NEW TAXES AND NO TAX INCREASES!! BUTT OUT!!
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    While you should be able to drink any beverage you desire in general you should also be aware of the cost to the public to care for ongoing disease caused by poor choice.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Not until we tax fatty fried fast foods, and tax sitting on the sofa playing video games instead getting exercise. Let's not pick and choose which source of obesity gets this Fat Tax.
    Like (5)
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    If you think the government should not tell people what to drink AND you oppose the ACA, you are idiot with your head in the sand. There are health consequences of making all the food that is affordable to poor people the type of food that most damages health. There is micro & macro economic fallout from having a large a population of sick people that cannot afford health care. Who is going to work at Walmart or buy the Chinese crap they sell if they are all chronically ill? Use your brains & earn the $172,000 you get paid every year!
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    If people haven't figured out that drinking sugary sodas cause obesity and diabetes, imposing a tax isn't going to help them figure it out. What's next, a tax on fatty mean? How about on all processed food? This is an individual responsibility.
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    This is unbelievable, well actually it is believable. Now with Government funded health care they now have to look out for their bottom line. Next they'll be banning cereals and other foods because they are too unhealthy. If you live on the US Canada border you can attest to how many canadians come here to buy groceries because they are A: Cheaper and B: a much more broad selection.
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    Don't tell the people of the U.S. how to live their lives!
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    Did we learn nothing from Prohibition?!
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    False. They are not the leading cause not can you blame any food. It's the people that consume it that should shoulder the blame. 100% of it. Government has to stop acting like my parent.
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    This is ridiculous!
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    This may be the dumbest piece of legislation that has been proposed recently. We the people don't need our government to tell us what we are doing is bad for our health. We live in a country that gives us unalienable rights to make choices, chiefly among those would be the right to choose what we consume!
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    It only makes sense that we curb the actual cause of the obesity in the nation.
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    If it was just a small tax on sugary drinks, it wouldn't really change the course of how many people consume the products. Also, I find it unfair to the companies that create sugary drinks, and could possibly hurt these big companies in some way, not benefiting the economy.
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    People who engage in unhealthy eating habits should be charged taxes to help curb the national cost of diet related illness.
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    This is ridiculous. The government has no right to get involved in my damn diet.
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    Nearly as many people die each year from obesity as cigarettes; it's time to wake up and realize the excessively sugar drinks deserve some type of sin tax.
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    Don't tax consumers...stop selling the sugary slop!
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