A bill to reduce regulation of the nation's airline industry will be the first order of business on the Senate floor after the debate on the Panama Canal Treaty is over.
In a meeting in the Oval Office yesterday, Sen. Howard W. Cannon (D-Nev.), who will be succeeding Warren G. Mugnuson (D-Wash.) as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, told President Carter he had an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) to take up the air bill immediately after the Panama Canal debate. That would put the debate on the air bill sometime in early or mid-March.
Cannon is a chief sponsor of the legislation, which cleared the Commerce Committee last fall.
According to his aides, Sen. Cannon told the President that getting that bill passed by the Senate was his first priority as Commerce Committee chairman. The meeting was initiated by the President to discuss Cannon's legislative plans for the year.
The President is said to have brought up his hopes that the committee would take up the question of reducing regulation of the trucking industry as well, and asked Cannon to exert a leadership role as he had in the airline area. Cannon is reported to have told the President there are "problems" with the trucking deregulation issue that don't exist in aviation, namely the "political" clout of the labor opponents to the trucking measure. He suggested that for the time being, it would be better to try to reduce trucking regulation through the administrative process at the Interstate Commerce Commission rather than seek legislation.