Maine governor wants to prevent people from using food stamps to purchase junk food

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AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the Trump administration is blocking his latest effort to prevent the use of food stamps to purchase soda and candy.

LePage spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture informed Maine of the news this week in a phone call.

The governor plans to revise and resubmit his request.

A USDA spokesman says the agency doesn’t want to pick winners and losers in the marketplace or pass judgment on the benefits of individual food.

The fiscally conservative governor has pointed to Maine’s high rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease as justification for his efforts.

But former Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration previously blocked LePage’s plan and said it lacked needed details and follow-up plans.

Rabinowitz says the administration hasn’t received a letter from the USDA regarding its latest decision.