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Statements On Introduced Bills And Joint Resolutions

By Mr. GRASSLEY (for Mr. Lott (for himself, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Burns, Mr. Craig, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Sessions, and Mr. Thomas)):

S. 2371. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce individual capital gains tax rates and to provide tax incentives for farmers; to the Committee on Finance.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley

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Mr. President, today several of us from rural States and the leadership of the Senate take a step to help America's farmers as representatives of States with major agricultural economies. All of us introducing this legislation agree that farmers are facing some difficult times.

While we must do what we can to make sure that farmers survive for the short term, the key to the agricultural economic situation is long-term solutions. While we can't eliminate every risk and we can't control every factor that governs the success of the family farm, there are initiatives that we can pursue that will help smooth out some of the bumps that are in the road.

That is why today several of us are introducing the FIRST Act, the Family Investment and Rural Savings Tax Act of 1998. As I said at the outset, there are some genuine problems in the ag community. Some parts of the country are experiencing problems that are worse than we are seeing in my own State of Iowa. We can offer reforms that address short-term and long-term needs.

To address short-term needs and help give farmers that extra support that some will need to get through this year, I have joined with several of my colleagues in supporting legislation that will speed up transition payments, payments that would be made during 1999 and could, upon election by individual farmers, be taken in 1998. In my State of Iowa, that will bring 36 cents per bushel into the farmer's income in 1998 that would otherwise not be there.

But the focus of this legislation which I am speaking about today, the FIRST Act, is to address long-term need, because what I just described to you, advancing the transition payments, is obviously a short-term solution.

What we are saying is that we must ensure economic stability for everyone first through the transition proposition I described, and then we must help our farmers plan for the future.

This measure takes a three-prong approach to assist farmers and families through tax reform.

The first section of our bill reduces the capital gains tax rate for individuals from 20 percent to 15 percent. This will spur growth, entrepreneurship and help farmers make the most of their capital assets. It will also encourage movement of capital investment from one generation to the other to help young farmers get started.

This language builds on the capital gains tax reform that we made in last year's Tax Relief Act.

Secondly, the FIRST Act includes my legislation that creates savings accounts for farmers. This initiative would allow farmers to make contributions to tax-deferred accounts. These Grassley savings accounts, as I call them, will give farmers a tool to control their lives. This savings account legislation will encourage farmers to save during good years to help cushion the fall from the inevitable bad years. The accounts will give farmers even greater freedom in their business decisions rather than giving the Government more authority over farmers and their lives.

As a working farmer myself, and an American, I know that we want to control our own destiny. We want to manage our own business. We want to make those decisions that are connected with being a good business operator. We do not want to have to wait for the bureaucrats at the USDA in Washington, DC, in that bureaucracy to tell us how many acres of corn and how many acres of soybeans that we can plant. This allows, through the balancing out of income, the leveling out of the peaks and valleys from one year to another, because in farming, it seems to be all boom or all bust. This farmers' savings account that I suggest will give farmers an opportunity to do that.

Finally, our tax legislation allows for the permanent extension of income averaging. Income averaging helps farmers because when prices are low and when farmers' income goes down, their tax burden will also be lowered. This helps farmers prepare for the especially volatile nature of their income.

This is a tough time for a lot of farmers. I know there is a great deal of anxiety among farmers about what the future might bring. This proposal will help them to know that we in Congress recognize the particular difficulties they face in trying to plan for the future. I, along with other Members who have worked on this bill, believe that our initiatives will provide farmers with additional financial insurance they need to help face the future.

The initiatives of this legislation have been endorsed by virtually every major agricultural organization. These organizations know that these measures are what farmers need to have more confidence and security in the future.

I am very pleased to see the majority leader, Trent Lott, the Senator from Mississippi, taking a strong stand in favor of this. I thank my colleagues who have worked with me on this legislation. We all agree that passing this measure as soon as possible is one of the best things that we can do for our farmers in our States and across the country.

This legislation is a long-term solution. It helps our farmers and our families survive and to keep control of their own decisions, so that we can let Washington make decisions for Washington but let farmers make decisions for themselves.

The bottom line, Mr. President, is right now we are facing a variety of troubling circumstances: an economic crisis in southeast Asia, a drought combined with the hot weather in Texas today, fires in Florida, too much wheat coming across the Canadian border, unfairly, to drive down the price of wheat in North Dakota, and the prospect of having bumper crops this year and big carryovers from last year. These are things that are beyond the control of the family farmer.

Because we in family farming assume the responsibility--each one of us--of feeding, on average, 126 other people, we must keep the family farms strong as a matter of national policy, as a matter of good economics. We do that not because of nostalgia for family farmers but because when there is a good supply of food, the urban populations of this country are going to feel more secure and more certain about the future.

We want to continually remind people, though, through actions of this Congress that we in the Congress know that food grows on farms, it does not grow in supermarkets. If there were not farmers producing, if there were not the labor and processing people, if there were not truckers and trains taking the food from the farm to the city, we would not have the high quality of food we have, we would not have the quantity of food we have, we would not have the stability that we have in our cities, we would not have the quality of life that we have beyond food for the American people. Let's not forget that food as a percentage of disposable income at about 11 percent is cheaper for the American consumer than any consumer anywhere else in the world.

This legislation that we are all introducing is in support of maintaining that sort of environment for the people of America, and also as we export food for people around the world. We are committed to it, but also as a Congress we are committed to maintaining the family farm as well. So I introduce this bill for Senator Lott, myself, Senator Hagel, Senator Roberts, Senator Burns, Senator Craig, Senator Shelby, and Senator Sessions. I thank my colleagues for their hard work and support.

I yield the floor.

Mr. HAGEL addressed the Chair.

The Senator from Nebraska.

Sen. Chuck T. Hagel

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Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I rise to support, as an original cosponsor, the Family Investment and Rural Savings Tax Act of 1998. I thank the majority leader, Senator Lott, for working with many of us to make tax relief for farmers and ranchers a very top priority this year.

Mr. President, I am not a farmer. When I want advice about agricultural issues, I ask farmers, I ask ranchers. About a month ago, the Senators offering this bill, and several others concerned about the problems facing rural America, agriculture today, right now, sat down with every major farm and commodity group in America. These representatives of American agriculture--real agriculture--told us the same thing I hear repeatedly from ranchers and farmers across my State of Nebraska: ``We do not want to go back to the failed Government supply and demand policies of the past.'' That is clear. They told us very clearly that there are three things--three things--Congress can do to help America's farmers and ranchers: One, open up more export markets; two, tax relief; and, three, reduce Government regulation. This, after all, Mr. President, was indeed the promise of the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act.

Those of us on the floor today and our colleagues have been working very hard over the last few months to open more markets overseas, especially in the area of dealing with unilateral sanctions. And we are going to keep pushing aggressively for important export tools, important for all of America, not just American agriculture, important tools like fast track, and reform and complete funding for the IMF.

This bill we are introducing today goes to the second point. It will provide real and meaningful tax relief, tax relief to America's agricultural producers. It will provide farmers and ranchers with the tools they need in managing the unique financial situations that they alone face on their farms and ranches.

This bill has three provisions, which Senator Grassley has just outlined accurately and succinctly: One, the farm and ranch risk management accounts; two, the permanent extension of income averaging for farmers; and, three, reduction of capital gains rates not just for American agriculture but for all of America.

Mr. President, I have said over the last 2 years I would like to see the capital gains tax completely eliminated. But that is a debate for another day. However, this bill is a major step in the right direction. This bill will mean lower taxes for our farmers and ranchers and many Americans. It is the right thing to do.

I hope a majority of my colleagues will join us in support of this bill, an important bill for America, an important bill for our farmers and ranchers.

Sen. Craig Thomas

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Mr. President, I rise for just a moment to thank the Senator from Nebraska and the Senator from Iowa for their leadership on this agricultural issue that we have before us. I join as an original cosponsor to the effort.

It seems to me that clearly there are two areas that have to be pursued. The Senator from Nebraska talked about one, and that is seeking to reopen and to strengthen these foreign markets that are there that are critical to agricultural production.

One of the areas, of course, in this matter is unilateral sanctions, of which some action has already been taken in the case of Pakistan and India. We need to do more of that. The other, of course, is to do something domestically. I agree entirely that we should not try to return to the managed agriculture that we had before, but to continue to move towards market agriculture in which our production is based on demand. But it is a difficult transition. And that, coupled with the Asian crisis, coupled with the fact that, particularly in the northern tier and in the south, we have had drought, we have had floods, we have had freezes--we have had a series of difficult things that lend to the difficulty of agriculture.

So I am pleased that the Congress has taken some steps. I think this idea of moving forward with the transition payments is a good idea.

Certainly we can do that for farmers. Then if we can provide a farmer savings account which will allow them to have these payments, in advance, without being taxed until they are used, is a good one.

Certainly, as the Senator from Nebraska has indicated, I, too, favor the idea of reducing and, indeed, eventually eliminating the capital gains taxes. I just want to say I support this very much.

There perhaps are other activities that we can undertake that will be helpful, but we do need to get started. I think this is a good beginning. I want to say again that I appreciate the leadership of the Senator from Iowa and the Senator from Nebraska.

I yield the floor.

Mr. CRAIG addressed the Chair.

Sen. Craig Thomas

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The Senator from Idaho.

Sen. Larry E. Craig

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Mr. President, I, too, have come to the floor this morning to thank you, and certainly the Senator from Iowa, the Senator from Wyoming, who has been involved with us, along with our leader, Trent Lott, Senator Burns of Montana, Senator Roberts, and myself in looking at the current agricultural situation in this country, which is very concerning to all of us as commodity prices plummet in the face of what could be record harvests and as foreign markets diminish because of the Asian crisis and world competition.

As a result of that, we have come together to look at tools that we could bring to American agriculture, production agriculture, farmers and ranchers, that would assist them now and into the future to build stability there and allow them not only to invest but to save during years of profit in a way that is unique for American agricultural.

In 1986, when this Congress made sweeping tax reform, they eliminated income averaging. I was in the House at that time and I opposed that legislation. I remember an economist from the University of Virginia saying that it would take a decade or more, but there would come a time when all of us in Congress would begin to see the problems that a denial of income averaging would do to production agriculture; that slowly but surely the ability to divert income during cyclical market patterns would, in effect, weaken production agriculture at the farm and ranch level to a point that they could not sustain themselves during these cyclical patterns. Bankruptcies would occur; family operations that had been in business for two or three generations would begin to fail.

We are at that point. We have been at that point for several years. I remember the words of that economist in a hearing before one of the House committees echoing, saying, ``Don't do this. This is the wrong approach.'' In those days, though, I wasn't, but others in Congress were anxious to crank up the money and spend it here in Washington and return it in farm products, recycle it, skim off the 15 or 20 percent that it oftentimes takes to run a government operation, and then somehow appear to be magnanimous by returning it in some form of farm program.

That day is over. We ought to be looking at the tools that we can offer production agriculture of the kind that is now before the Senate in the legislation that we call the Family Investment and Rural Savings Act, not only looking at a permanency income averaging, but looking at real estate depreciation, recapturing, and a variety of tools that we think will be extremely valuable to production agriculture at a time when they are in very real need.

Also, the transition payments' extension that we have talked about moving forward to give some immediate cash to production agriculture, that is appropriate under the Freedom to Farm transitions in which we are currently involved, becomes increasingly valuable.

I join today and applaud those who have worked on this issue, to bring it immediately, and I hope that we clearly can move it in this Congress, to give farmers and ranchers today those tools--be it drought or be it a very wet year or be it the collapse of foreign markets. Prices in some of our commodity areas today are at a 20-plus year low, yet, of course, the tractor and the combine purchased is at an all-time high.

I do applaud those who have worked with us in bringing this legislation to the floor, and I thank the chairman for the time.

I yield the floor.

The distinguished former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, the Senator from Kansas.

Sen. Pat Roberts

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I thank the Presiding Officer and the distinguished Senator from Wyoming.

Sen. Pat Roberts

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Mr. President, I am pleased to join my friends and colleagues in introducing the Family Investment and Rural Savings Tax (FIRST) Act. I would especially like to thank our Leader, Senator Lott, for his strong commitment to this effort. His dedication and interest in these important issues should underscore how serious we are about providing tax relief and improvements for farmers and ranchers before the 105th Congress adjourns.

America's producers are currently experiencing a troubling time. Thanks in large part to the Asian economic crisis and the Administration's inability to open up new markets for U.S. farm products, commodity prices across the board have fallen to dangerously low levels. Low prices, combined with isolated weather-related problems in some regions of the country on one hand and election-year posturing on the other, have prompted some of our Democratic colleagues to call for a return to the failed agriculture policies of the past. They support loan programs that price the United States out of the world market. They support a return to the system whereby the U.S. Government is in the grain business. And they support a return to command-and-control agriculture whereby producers are required to limit their production in a foolish and futile attempt to try to bolster commodity prices. These policies did not work for 50 years and they will not work now.

The FIRST Act is designed to address the real needs of producers today. The FIRST Act provides tax relief for every farmer and rancher in the United States. Specifically, income averaging--which was an important component of the 1996 tax bill--would become permanent, the capital gains tax brackets would be cut by 25 percent across the board and a new Farm and Ranch Risk Management Account would be established to allow producers to manage the volatile shifts in farm income from one year to another.

I specifically want to address the capital gains tax cut and the FARRM accounts. The capital gains tax represents one of the most burdensome, expensive provisions of the U.S. Tax Code for America's farmers and ranchers and for America's families. Production agriculture is a capital-intensive business. Without equipment and inputs--expensive equipment and inputs--you simply can't survive in the incredibly competitive agriculture world. Therefore, because of the tremendous costs of depreciating that expensive equipment, the capital gains tax hits farmers and ranchers especially hard. In addition, today the Congress encourages middle-income families to save for their future in part to take pressure off of the Social Security system. However, we continue to allow capital gains taxes to hit America's families twice. Investors' money is taxed both as income when they get their paycheck and as capital gain when they make a smart investment. That's a strange and counterproductive way to encourage personal responsibility and savings for the future. As a result, I am very grateful to our Majority Leader for including the ``Crown Jewel'' of his tax and Speaker Gingrich's tax bill in the FIRST Act today and I look forward to working with the Leader to pass meaningful tax relief before the Senate adjourns.

I also want to address the creation of the new FARRM Accounts. While Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I was charged with producing the 1996 farm bill. As we were producing that legislation, I wanted very badly to create what I called a ``farmer IRA.'' Basically, the farmer IRA would be a rainy day account whereby if a farmer or rancher had a good year, he could invest part of his profits in a tax-deferred account. Then, when a bad year hits, he could withdraw that money to offset the downturn. That's exactly what the FARRM Accounts would do. Producers will be able to invest up to 20 percent of their Schedule F (farm) income in any interest-bearing account. They may withdraw that money at any time during a five-year period. If passed, FARRM Accounts will correct the huge problem in our existing Tax Code that encourages producers to buy a new tractor or combine at the end of the year in order to reduce taxable income instead of saving for the future. Again, I wanted to do this during the farm bill but we ran out of time. I'm very pleased that the Congress may finally get the opportunity to provide the flexibility and tax relief producers so desperately need.

I want to thank my colleagues again for their leadership in this area and I look forward to working with them and the rest of the Senate to pass this important legislation.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley

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Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a copy of the bill be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Family Investment and Rural Savings Tax Act''. (b) Table of Contents.--

(a) In General.--Subsection (h) of section 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended to read as follows: ``(h) Maximum Capital Gains Rate.-- ``(1) In general.--If a taxpayer has a net capital gain for any taxable year, the tax imposed by this section for such taxable year shall not exceed the sum of-- ``(A) a tax computed at the rates and in the same manner as if this subsection had not been enacted on taxable income reduced by the net capital gain, ``(B) 7.5 percent of so much of the net capital gain (or, if less, taxable income) as does not exceed the excess (if any) of-- ``(i) the amount of taxable income which would (without regard to this paragraph) be taxed at a rate below 28 percent, over ``(ii) the taxable income reduced by the net capital gain, and ``(C) 15 percent of the amount of taxable income in excess of the sum of the amounts on which tax is determined under subparagraphs (A) and (B). ``(2) Net capital gain taken into account as investment income.--For purposes of this subsection, the net capital gain for any taxable year shall be reduced (but not below zero) by the amount which the taxpayer takes into account as investment income under section 163(d)(4)(B)(iii).'' (b) Alternative Minimum Tax.--Paragraph (3) of section 55(b) of such Code is amended to read as follows: ``(3) Maximum rate of tax on net capital gain of noncorporate taxpayers.--The amount determined under the first sentence of paragraph (1)(A)(i) shall not exceed the sum of-- ``(A) the amount determined under such first sentence computed at the rates and in the same manner as if this paragraph had not been enacted on the taxable excess reduced by the net capital gain, ``(B) 7.5 percent of so much of the net capital gain (or, if less, taxable excess) as does not exceed the amount on which a tax is determined under section 1(h)(1)(B), and ``(C) 15 percent of the amount of taxable excess in excess of the sum of the amounts on which tax is determined under subparagraphs (A) and (B).'' (c) Conforming Amendments.-- (1) Paragraph (1) of section 1445(e) of such Code is amended by striking ``20 percent'' and inserting ``15 percent''. (2) The second sentence of section 7518(g)(6)(A) of such Code, and the second sentence of section 607(h)(6)(A) of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, are each amended by striking ``20 percent'' and inserting ``15 percent''. (3) Section 311 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 is amended by striking subsection (e). (4) Paragraph (7) of section 57(a) of such Code (as amended by the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998) is amended by striking the last sentence. (5) Paragraphs (11) and (12) of section 1223, and section 1235(a), of such Code (as amended by the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998) are each amended by striking ``18 months'' each place it appears and inserting ``1 year''. (d) Transitional Rules For Taxable Years Which Include June 24, 1998.-- (1) In general.--Subsection (h) of section 1 of such Code (as amended by the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ``(14) Special Rules for taxable years which include june 24, 1998.--For purposes of applying this subsection in the case of a taxable year which includes June 24, 1998-- ``(A) Gains or losses properly taken into account for the period on or after such date shall be disregarded in applying paragraph (5)(A)(i), subclauses (I) and (II) of paragraph (5)(A)(ii), paragraph (5)(B), paragraph (6), and paragraph (7)(A). ``(B) The amount determined under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall be the sum of-- ``(i) 7.5 percent of the amount which would be determined under such subparagraph if the amount of gain taken into account under such subparagraph did not exceed the net capital gain taking into account only gain or loss properly taken into account for the portion of the taxable year on or after such date, plus ``(ii) 10 percent of the excess of the amount determined under such subparagraph (determined without regard to this paragraph) over the amount determined under clause (i). ``(C) The amount determined under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) shall be the sum of-- ``(i) 15 percent of the amount which would be determined under such subparagraph if the adjusted net capital gain did not exceed the net capital gain taking into account only gain or loss properly taken into account for the portion of the taxable year on or after such date, plus ``(ii) 20 percent of the excess of the amount determined under such subparagraph (determined without regard to this paragraph) over the amount determined under clause (i). ``(D) Rules similar to the rules of paragraph (13)(C) shall apply.'' (2) Alternative minimum tax.--Paragraph (3) of section 55(b) of such Code (as amended by the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``For purposes of applying this paragraph for a taxable year which includes June 24, 1998, rules similar to the rules of section 1(h)(14) shall apply.'' (e) Effective Dates.-- (1) In general.--Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning on or after June 24, 1998. (2) Transitional rules for taxable years which include june 24, 1998.--The amendments made by subsection (d) shall apply to taxable years beginning before such date and ending on or after June 24, 1998. (3) Withholding.--The amendment made by subsection (c)(1) shall apply only to amounts paid after the date of the enactment of this Act. (4) Certain conforming amendments.--The amendments made by subsection (c)(5) shall take effect on June 24, 1998. TITLE II--TAX INCENTIVES FOR FARMERS

(a) In General.--Subpart C of part II of subchapter E of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to taxable year for which deductions taken) is amended by inserting after section 468B the following new section:

Section 933(c) of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 is amended by striking ``, and before January 1, 2001''.

Sen. Conrad Burns

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Mr. President, I rise today along with Senators Lott, Craig, Grassley, Hagel, Roberts, Sessions, Shelby, and Thomas to introduce the Family Investment and Rural Savings Tax (FIRST) Act of 1998.

Mr. President, today's family farms are in jeopardy. This bill will help all Americans as well as our nation's farming families.

The bill consists of two titles--the first will reduce the top individual capital gains tax rate from 20% to 15% and reduces the capital gains tax rate for individuals with lower incomes from 10% to 7.5%.

Title two of the bill consists of two separate measures which work hand in hand: First, the bill will allow farmers to open their own tax deferred savings accounts. These accounts would provide farmers and ranchers an opportunity to set aside income in high-income years and withdraw the money in low-income years. The money is taxed only when it is withdrawn and can be deferred for up to five years.

In 1995, 2.2 million taxpayers, qualified as farmers under IRS definitions, would have been eligible to use these accounts. Only 725,000 of those filed a net income while 1.5 million filed a net loss.

Now that could mean one of two things: (1) fewer and fewer farmers are able to stay in the black or; (2) more and more farmers are going out of business. We cannot continue to treat our farmers and ranchers as second class citizens in our tax code.

The second part of this title contains language that I introduced earlier this year. This language would allow farmers to use average their income over three years and make that tool permanent in the tax code. This bill will give American farmers a fair tool to offset the unpredictable nature of their business.

The question is who will benefit most from income averaging and farm savings accounts. This is the best part--this legislation will allow farmers to delay payment of their taxes by reducing their overall income and spreading it out over a number of years.

However, based on the tax rate schedule, this bill would favor farmers in the lower tax bracket. If a farmer could use these tools to reduce their tax burden from one year to the next, it is very conceivable that taxpayer would pay only 15% on his income compared to 28%. That is a significant savings.

This bill leaves the business decisions in the hands of farmers, not the government. Farmers can decide whether to defer income and when to withdraw funds to supplement operations.

Farmers and ranchers labor seven days a week, from dawn until dusk, to provide our nation with the world's best produce, dairy products and meats. Farming is a difficult business requiring calloused hands and rarely a profitable financial reward. This profession is not getting any easier. Today, we are seeing more and more of our family farms swallowed up by the corporate farms.

Farming has always been a family affair. Rural communities rely on the family farm for their own economic sustenance. Although family farms are traditionally passed on from father to son--it is becoming more and more difficult as the economics of farming are becoming more and more complicated. Further tightening of the belt on these folks can only mean the eventual loss of the family farm.

Montana's farmers take pride in their harvests. You could call today's farmer the ultimate environmentalist. They know how to take care of the land and ensure that future harvests will be plentiful. As land managers, farmers understand the importance of proper land stewardship.

Those colleagues of mine who grew up on a farm or ranch would certainly understand the frustration of this business. Farmers and ranchers don't receive an annual salary. They cannot rely on income that may not be there at the end of the year and they certainly cannot count on a monthly paycheck. This is a crucial time for family farms and tax relief can mean the difference between keeping the family farm for future generations or losing it.

With the recent passage of the Farm Bill, farmers are more than ever impacted by market forces and in the farming business, those market forces can be very unpredictable.

Market forces in farming are very unique--drought, flooding, infestation and disease all play a vital role in a farmer's bottom line. And it's not often when the elements of mother nature allow for a profitable harvest.

At best, most farmers are lucky to break even more than two years in a row. One year may be a windfall, while the next may mean bankruptcy. Farmers and ranchers are forced to make large capital investments in machinery, livestock and improvements to their properties.

Agricultural markets are rarely predictable. Farmers, more than any other sector of our economy are likely to experience substantial fluctuations in income.

We also need to address the issue of the estate tax. This is a death blow to a family farm that has been passed down through the generations. A family farm in Montana is not really referred to as an estate. We call it home, we call it work, and we call it our lives, but we don't call it an estate.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and urge you also to support future bills such as estate tax relief legislation to encourage America's farming family of a safe and secure future.

I have letters in support of this bill signed by numerous agriculture groups as well as a letter from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). I ask unanimous consent to have both of these letters printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: