The mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and 15 other cities across the country are pushing against the use of food stamps to buy sodas and other sugary drinks.
They say it would be an important step forward in the fight against obesity.
"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," the mayors said in a letter to Congress on Tuesday.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose office released the letter, said in a statement, "Why should we continue supporting unhealthy purchases in the false name of nutrition assistance?"
Meanwhile, the American Beverage Association said sugary drinks shouldn't be singled out as a cause of obesity.
"Targeting struggling families who rely on (food stamps') vital safety net will not make America healthier or reduce government spending," the ABA said in a statement.
The other cities whose mayors signed the letter are Baltimore; Boston; Louisville, Ky.; Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; St. Louis; and Seattle.