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AIADA function draws 500

November 24, 2010
Dealers descend on Capitol to lobby on trade, fuel economy, estate tax

More than 500 automobile dealers from across the United States met for the 25th annual American International Automotive Congress, May 21-22 in Washington, D.C. The industry's largest grassroots lobbying event joins dealers and executives for briefings and speeches. "Once again, the Automotive Congress came at a crucial time and our voices were heard," said Jamie Auffenberg, chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.

The AIADA sponsors the Automotive Congress. Top issues at this year's event included (1) an appeal to make permanent the estate tax repeal, (2) opposition to attempts to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and (3) insistence against protectionist amendments that would impact Asian imports. Intense lobbying resulted in last year's legislation to phase out the federal estate tax by 2010. However, due to congressional budget rules, the tax would be reinstated in 2011-at the prephaseout tax level of 55 percent.

A permanent end to the tax is the AIADA's top legislative priority this year. The House of Representatives has approved a permanent repeal of the tax. Debate in the Senate is expected to begin June 28. A national Energy Bill that was passed this year excluded any tinkering with CAFE. The AIADA continues to lobby for any CAFÉ action to be left to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, not Congress. Shortly after the Automotive Congress concluded, the Senate was expected to consider a bill on trade promotion authority.

The topic enabled dealers to reiterate to lawmakers the importance of an open automotive market in the United States and the many benefits such a marketplace brings to the nation's economy and its consumers. The AIADA has lobbied against potential protectionist amendments that would affect automotive imports from Japan and Korea.