The Senate Commerce Committee had approved and sent to the floor President Carter's three controversial nominations to the Interstate Commerce Commission.
The three, who are expected to support the recent trend of the ICC to relax federal regulation of surface transportation:
Marcus Alexis, chairman of the economics departments of Northwestern University, who would become the first black on the ICC in its 92-year history.
Darius W. Gaskings Jr., an economist who has been the chief economist at the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Federal Trade Commission and most recently served as deputy assistant secretary of energy for policy analysis.
Thomas A. Trantum, a security analyst with Rothchild, Unterberg, Towbin in New York whose specialty has been regulated transportation.
The Commerce Committee reported out the nominations of Alexis and Trantum on a 14-to-1 vote with two abstentions while Gaskins' nomination was reported out on a 10-to-3 vote with four abstentions.
Although the three expressed remarkably similar views at their joint confirmation hearing, the American Trucklung Association and the Teamasters union concentrated their lobbying against Gaskins, according to Senate sources.
An erroneous rumor circulating on Capitol Hill last week had current ICC Chairman A. Daniel O'neal resigning as soon as the three were confirmed and Gaskin's being appointed chairman in his place.
Laying that scenario to rest, O'Neil said yesterday he had no plans to resign. "I have a commitment to stay until the end of my term and I intend to fulfill that commitment," he said. He hasn't decided what to do after his term expires at the end of the year, he said.
O'Neil has been on the ICC since 1973 and served as its chairman since April 1977.