By David Bell, NADA Director of Legislative Affairs

Since April, ATD has been focused on temporarily suspending the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on new heavy-duty trucks and trailers through 2021 in the next coronavirus economic recovery legislation. FET suspension is under consideration for inclusion in the economic stimulus legislation that Congress is expected to pass in the next couple of weeks.

The ATD-led Modernize the Truck Fleet Coalition, along with 198 industry groups and the UAW, have advocated to temporarily suspend the 12% FET to help save jobs, boost the economy and modernize truck fleets by accelerating the purchase of new trucks with the latest environmental and safety technology.

Due to government-ordered shutdowns and the pandemic, Class 8 truck sales are predicted to decrease 50% this year; however, a recent American Trucking Associations survey showed that 60% of fleets are likely or very likely to purchase new trucks if the FET were suspended.

Last week, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and 54 House Democrats sent a letter to  Democratic House leaders urging them “to suspend the FET until the end of 2021 in upcoming coronavirus legislation as the best and fastest way to help save or restore trucking-related jobs and jumpstart the economic recovery of this vital sector.” The letter was signed by six prominent members of the House Ways and Means Committee.


On July 27, Senate Republicans released the “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act.” The HEALS Act is a $1 trillion economic stimulus bill that includes provisions to extend unemployment benefits, liability reform and small business relief.

Unfortunately, despite strong bipartisan support for FET suspension, the first draft of the bill did not include the 12% federal excise tax (FET) suspension on heavy duty trucks. The good news is that FET suspension could still be added as the bill is negotiated.

Dealers Urged to Contact Senators to Add FET Suspension Now

As the HEALS Act is now under negotiation, ATD urges dealers to call upon their lawmakers in Washington and secure inclusion of suspending the FET through 2021. At present, ATD is concerned that other competing industries are trying to slow down momentum for FET suspension behind the scenes.

“My fellow dealers need to call their Senators today and tell them FET suspension until the end of 2021 would protect trucking jobs and boost the economy, and should be added to the HEALS Act,” said Chairman Steve Bassett. “Dealers need to make their voices heard on this issue and contact their Senators.”

Dealers should focus on Republican Senators, Congressional leadership and tax-writing committee members (see list). Republican Senators are urged to speak to Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Democrat Senators are urged to speak to Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to urge inclusion of FET suspension in the HEALS Act. Dealers should highlight the challenges that your business is facing and the positive economic effects of FET suspension.

To help you find your Member of congress see the congressional database.

ATD welcomes the opportunity to put you in touch with your Members of Congress. Please contact Patrick Calpin or David Bell of ATD Legislative Affairs at or for more information and to share your feedback from your calls to Members of Congress.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association