The House Public Works and Transportation Committee approved yesterday by a 36-to-4 vote legislation that would substantially revamp federal regulation of nation's airline industry.
The House measure would abolish the Civil Aeronautics Board at the end of 1982, transferring only subsidy, international and antitrust functions to other federal departments. Several other key provisions, however, are more conservatively drafted than those of a Senate-passed bill to introduce competition to the industry.
Because of the "sunset" feature of the bill, Rep. Elliott Levitas (D-Ga.) contended the House measure was as strong and pro-competitive as the Senate measure. "It is the only true deregulation bill now in the Congress," he said. "The abolition of the CAB will bring about a free competitive market."
Levitas, who played a major role holding up the airline measure nearly two months in the aviation subcommittee, said he supported the compromise measure voted out yesterday. But he indicated that he would have "second thoughts" about it if there was "any backsliding, crawfishing, double-dealing or double-crossing" by the White House.
Levitas, who helped fashion the compromise, said he was assured by "representatives of the White House" that the compromise was a bill the administration would support "through the subcommittee, through the committee and through the House."
When the subcommittee approved the compromise last week, White House spokesman Jody Powell said they would try to get a stronger bill on the House floor.
The next day, Levitas pointed out, Powell modified his remarks to say the efforts to strengthen the bill would be directed to the House Senate conference sessions. "That falls far far short of thestatements made to me," Levitas complained.