As Hostess announces closures, Dem calls for end to junk food tax help

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Friday proposed that Congress end all tax deductions associated with the marketing of junk food to children, and said this proposal should be part of the final plan to avoid the fiscal cliff.

"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?" he asked on the House floor.

"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.

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"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.

Kucinich's announcement came on the same day that Hostess Brands announced that it has closed its bakeries and will soon shut down altogether. The company said it would not be able to continue operations in light of a strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which was demanding concessions the company said it could not accept.

The closing of Hostess Brands, which made Twinkies, Ho Hos and other snack treats, means the loss of 18,500 jobs and an at least temporary removal of several food items that have been around for decades.

Meanwhile, congressional leaders met at the White House on Friday to discuss how to avoid the fiscal cliff, and said it was a "constructive" meeting, although they offered few details.

Republicans said they offered to accept the idea of new tax revenue for the federal government, as long as it is accompanied by "significant" cuts in government spending.

Congress is adjourned for all of next week due to Thanksgiving, but returns the following week.