Pappas Leads Call to Support America’s Trucking Industry

July 21, 2020
Press Release

Yesterday, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) led 54 lawmakers in calling on Congressional leadership to support America’s trucking industry and their workers, which have been hit hard by effects of COVID-19. 

America’s trucking industry, which employs 7.8 million Americans, is expected to suffer a 50% decline in Class 8 truck sales through 2020 due to the mandated closures of manufacturing plants and dealers. 

To support the trucking industry during this time, the lawmakers called on leadership to suspend the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on the purchase of new heavy-duty trucks and trailers until the end of 2021. This current FET often adds as much as $21,000 to the price of a new truck or trailer and places them at a price point that remains out of reach for many coping with the economic impacts of COVID-19.  Suspending the FET would help turnover the existing truck fleet to help replace older trucks with newer trucks that are subject to more stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas requirements.

“During this unprecedented crisis, truck sales have plummeted below 50% of prior year sales. Major truck and trailer investments are being delayed and deferred. Truck factories and showrooms have been closed, and thousands of employees have been furloughed,” the lawmakers wrote. “Suspension of the 12% FET on new heavy duty-trucks and trailers during this critical time could help fleets purchase new trucks and trailers, support U.S. truck and trailer manufacturing, supplier, and dealership jobs, and advance our goals of improving highway safety and reducing emissions.”

“On behalf of the trucking industry, we thank Congressman Pappas for his efforts to protect the 1.3 million jobs supported by Class 8 truck and trailer manufacturing,” said Steve Bassett, ATD chairman and dealer principal of General Truck Sales in Muncie, Ind. “FET suspension is the right medicine for America’s trucking industry during this pandemic.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below: 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, Majority Whip Clyburn, and Chairman Neal:

Thank you for your leadership in ensuring our nation has the resources needed to protect our citizens against the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. During this time, the domestic trucking industry has played a critical role in ensuring the delivery of vital medical supplies and essential consumer goods nationwide. Like other important industries that employ millions of Americans, the trucking industry has been impacted by the severe economic consequences of the pandemic.  To ensure this essential industry can more quickly recover, and to save jobs in the trucking industry, we urge you to temporarily suspend the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on heavy-duty trucks and trailers in future coronavirus recovery legislation. 

During this unprecedented crisis, truck sales have plummeted below 50% of prior year sales. Major truck and trailer investments are being delayed and deferred. Truck factories and showrooms have been closed, and thousands of employees have been furloughed.  Immediate relief that extends until the end of 2021 is essential to supporting the workers in this industry.  As a targeted, temporary stimulus measure, we urge that this relief be provided without hurting the already strained Highway Trust Fund.

The FET on heavy-duty trucks, first implemented to help fund World War I, is hitting truck sales hard during this pandemic. At 12%, this tax has grown to become one of the highest percentage excise taxes and adds approximately $21,000 to a vehicle’s cost. In addition to the positive impact a suspension will have on the industry and its workers, the FET causes truck owners to delay upgrading to safer, more fuel-efficient equipment. This equipment has the latest emissions control technology and life-saving features, including automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. Suspending the FET will therefore speed adoption of the newest environmental and safety technologies. 

Suspension of the 12% FET on new heavy duty-trucks and trailers during this critical time could help fleets purchase new trucks and trailers, support U.S. truck and trailer manufacturing, supplier, and dealership jobs, and advance our goals of improving highway safety and reducing emissions.

We urge you 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.

Additional Signers: 

2. David Trone
3. Vicente Gonzalez
4. Ed Perlmutter
5. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
6. David Scott
7. Rep. Marc A. Veasey
8. Henry Cuellar
9. Collin C. Peterson
10. Danny K. Davis
11. Tim Ryan
12. Joyce Beatty
13. Lori Trahan
14. Anthony Brindisi
15. Lisa Blunt Rochester
16. Susan Wild
17. Haley M. Stevens
18. Stacey E. Plaskett
19. Denny Heck
20. Tom O’Halleran
21. Anthony G. Brown
22. Kurt Schrader
23. Abby Finkenauer
24. Dave Loebsack
25. Angie Craig
26. Mike Doyle
27. Joe Cunningham
28. Ben McAdams
29. Jared Golden
30. TJ Cox
31. Josh Gottheimer
32. Thomas R. Suozzi
33. Bobby L. Rush
34. Adam Smith
35. Terri A. Sewell
36. Cindy Axne
37. Filemon Vela
38. Rick Larsen
39. Marcy Kaptur
40. Debbie Dingell
41. Ron Kind
42. Joe Courtney
43. Madeleine Dean
44. Bill Pascrell, Jr.
45. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
46. Daniel W. Lipinski
47. Brian Higgins
48. Alcee L. Hastings
49. Kathleen M. Rice
50. Chellie Pingree
51. Tony Cárdenas
52. Ann McLane Kuster
53. J. Luis Correa
54. Alma S. Adams
55. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.