Agriculture is the backbone of Central Washington, and there is no question that the successes and challenges of our growers have a significant impact on our entire economy. As your representative in Congress, I consider it my responsibility to advocate for policies that help, instead of hinder, their ability to succeed.
This includes providing our farmers with some certainty in federal policies that help them to plan ahead. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives appointed negotiators to resolve the differences in a bipartisan manner between the House and Senate-passed versions of the Farm Bill, so that a final bill can ultimately be signed into law.
As co-chairman of the House Specialty Crop Caucus, I am pleased that both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill include important investments in research, pest management, and trade assistance that provide our farmers with the tools they need to remain competitive in the global marketplace. I am hopeful that the House and Senate negotiators recognize the value of programs like the Market Access Program, Clean Plant Network, and Specialty Crop Research Initiative that provide real benefits for Central Washington growers.
One of the biggest concerns I've heard from growers this year is the unworkable, one-size-fits-all food safety regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That is why I was pleased to support an amendment to the House-passed Farm Bill that would require an economic analysis and further scientific study on these regulations before they can be implemented in their current form. I will continue to advocate for the inclusion of this provision in the final version of this legislation.
I am also pleased that the House-passed bill included a provision that I worked with Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas to write, which would prevent regulations from going into effect that would have a severe impact on agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. These proposed regulations, which are not based on the best available scientific data, would eliminate the use of vital crop protection tools on approximately 60 percent of the farmland in Washington state.
At a time when our national debt is at a record high, we have more of a responsibility than ever to reduce spending and use our taxpayer dollars effectively. The House-passed legislation includes some of the most significant reforms to both farm and nutrition policy in history. In fact, the House acted to eliminate or consolidate more than 100 programs, saving taxpayers nearly $60 billion.
Central Washington's farmers need and deserve certainty so that they can plan for the future. I am hopeful that House and Senate negotiators resolve their differences quickly to develop a final bill that meets the needs of Central Washington growers, while making the reforms necessary to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, and use taxpayer dollars as efficiently as possible. I remain committed to working with my colleagues toward enacting a five-year Farm Bill as soon as possible.