President Carter is noping to bring the consumer agency bill to the floor of the Senate as early as Feb. 7, according to White House consumer advocate Esther Peterson, who briefed several regulatory officials at a breakfast this week.
Also at the breakfast, Peterson and others reportedly outlined the number of people that will be taken from each agency to make up the new Consumer Protection Agency if the bill passes Congress.
The present breakdown is Interstate Commerce Commission, 21 persons; Civil Aeronautics Board, 8; Consumer Product Safety Commission, 3; Federal Communications Commission, 4; Energy, 19; Health, Education and Welfare, 55 (not including another 55 from Food and Drug); Commerce, 3; Labor, 2; State, 4; Transportation, 9 (not including 3 more from Federal Aviation and 5 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration); Treasury, 2; General Services Administration, 18; Postal Rate Commission, 15.
Administration aides were reported to be concerned that several agencies were trying to keep their consumer officers by transferring them into "public relations" functions.
But Peterson is going over to the Office of Management and Budget next week to explain the difference between public relations and consumer representation, and to held offset a possibile ploy on the part of agencies to retain staffers earmarked for the CPA.