March 3, 2015

This week’s ETW Document of the Week is a Carter Administration memo preparing the President for a meeting with the chairmen of the House and Senate transportation committees, Rep. Harold “Bizz” Johnson (D-CA) and Sen. Howard Cannon (D-NV), and with House Aviation Subcommittee chairman Glenn Anderson (D-CA).

As of late September 1978, airline deregulation (highly sought after by the Carter Administration) had passed both chambers of Congress (S. 2493, 95thCongress) but a conference committee had not yet been appointed to reconcile the differing House and Senate versions of the bills.

The memo to Carter makes it clear that the chairmen were holding airline deregulation hostage in order to get Carter’s support for an unrelated airline noise bill: “Although Chairman Cannon has appointed conferees to an airline deregulation conference, both he and Bizz Johnson have agreed not to begin a conference until they get your commitment to sign the noise bill.”

Carter agreed as long as airline deregulation did not have to wait for the noise bill to be completed, and it was a good thing, too. Airline deregulation was enacted as P.L. 95-504 on October 24, 1978, but the airline noise bill died when the House and Senate could not reconcile their differing versions of that bill (H.R. 8729, 95th Congress.)

But Carter was as good as his word, and when the following Congress was able to present him with an airport noise bill (H.R. 2440), he signed it into law as the Airport Noise and Abatement Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-193).