WE WANT to keep you posted on what Congress in its lame-duck session is doing on our list of "must not" legislation.
AMA-FTC. With 11 million Americans unemployed, the House took speedy action to relieve some of America's neediest: it allowed professionals like doctors to fix prices and put out deceptive advertising free from regulation by the FTC. A compromise backed by FTC Chairman James Miller was rejected 208-195. Did the $1.7 million in campaign contributions by the AMA's political action committee make the difference?
Perhaps all is not yet lost: in the Senate, the exemption for professions will probably come to the floor, where Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) will try to strike it and Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) will try to substitute the amendment that lost, narrowly, in the House.
Those who agree that doctors should not be exempt from the antitrust laws should make their feelings known to their senators, who may vote on this issue next week.
* The SIXPAC bill is, happily, bottled up in a Judiciary subcommittee chaired by Rep. Peter Rodino (D-N.J.), who has probably killed more bad legislation in this Congress than any other legislator. Theoretically, it could reach the House floor, just as, theoretically, Halley's comet could arrive early.
* Local content. Speaker O'Neill has promised UAW President Douglas Fraser that this bill, which would require foreign auto makers to manufacture many of their parts here, will go to the floor of the House this session. Actually, it has better prospects next year; many incoming Democrats made promises -- often unenthusiastically -- to back it this fall. It is a top priority for the UAW, whose political action committee is one of the biggest contributors to congressional campaigns. Local content's chances in the Senate are not good, but they might improve if it passes the House with a large margin.
* The Shipping Act, the Alaska Railroad giveaway, the Apple Computer bill. Howard Metzenbaum (D- Ohio) has put a hold on these bills, and many others, in the Senate; he spends the day on the floor so he can filibuster them if they're called up. The Shipping Act and the Apple bill passed the House and have wide support. The latter is on the Metzenbaum list only because it's part of a bill extending banks' bad-debt deductions, but Senate Finance Chairman Robert Dole has also put a hold on it.
* FIFRA. Should states be able to regulate pesticides more stringently than the federal government? California does, but the chemical industry and Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) don't want to let it. But Mr. Helms has not brought this bad bill to the floor, and several senators have holds on it now.