The estate tax reform bill will help local, family-owned businesses and farms - the backbone of communities throughout our country - stay local and family-owned. I have met with small business owners in my district who are facing the prospect of having to sell to giant corporate conglomerates because estate tax burdens prohibit them from passing their companies onto the next generation. Fathers and mothers should be able to pass the farms and businesses that they worked so hard to build onto their children without being unfairly penalized.

This bill is not perfect - I have serious concerns about the fiscal impact of lowering tax rates for estates over $10 million. However, the benefits the estate tax exemption will bring our local, family-owned businesses and farms, and in turn our communities, are worth this current compromise.

This bill also includes a critically important tax provision that will help the Northwest's struggling timber industry, and the more than 45,000 people in my home state who are employed by the forest products industry.