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Tauzin may avoid Hollings hearing

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) plans a March 20 hearing on local telecommunications competition, and he wants his star witnesses to be
Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

Tauzin led the fight in the House last week to pass a bill -- referred to by
his name and that of his cosponsor, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) -- that would
deregulate the four remaining regional phone companies so that they can more quickly
deploy high-speed fiber networks.

Markey, on the other hand, led the fight against the bill.

Hollings is the Senate's main objector to the legislation, calling it

As a result, Tauzin is less than enthusiastic about appearing in front of
Hollings' committee.

"Billy's been a hunter too long not to know a bear trap when he sees one,"
Tauzin spokesman Ken Johnson said. "He has no intention of seeing his head hang
on the wall somewhere over in the Senate. If they want to conduct a fair hearing
on Tauzin-Dingell, he will be glad to testify. But he is not walking into an