January 28, 1981 -A busy news day and much of it coming from Washington. Starting with news that Price controls on gas and oil and petroleum were to be removed. Keeping a campaign pledge, President Reagan was expected to remove controls on prices and allocations on crude oil, gasoline and propane; those were the only petroleum products still under some control. The restraints were due to be lifted in the Fall of 1981 anyway, but consumers complained that doing it now may put another dime a gallon or more, almost immediately on home heating oil and gasoline. Administration spokesmen said it wouldn’t be that drastic and it will spur domestic production. Critics were warning that this pattern of decontrol was just going to add to inflation. Time would tell.
In other news – President Reagan was hosting his first Chief of State; Jamaica’s recently elected Prime Minister Edward Seaga, where they had two 1/2 hours of discussions planned. Seaga was elected over the left-leaning government of Michael Manley and was already in the process of expelling the Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica as well as dismantling the Cuban-Jamaican network established during the Manley era.
The new Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger launched into an attack on the Carter-era Defense budget. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the 1981-1982 Defense Budget, inherited from the Carter Administration were seriously underfunded. Weinberger said the current state of the U.S. Military was far less than satisfactory and said he would propose the revised military spending increases the following month. This came on the heels of a disclosure by the Armed Forces Joint Chiefs Of Staff General David Jones that a dangerous and unstable decade would be caused by a gap in U.S. an Soviet Military spending.
And in his first news conference, Secretary Of State Alexander Haig said if Iran was hoping to get arms for its war with Iraq out of the release of the 52 American hostages it was holding, they would have to get them somewhere else than the U.S. Haig said that, although he said some decisions on implementing the hostage agreements wouldn’t be made until there was more time to study the complex documents, they have ruled out supplying Iran with any Military equipment. Haig went on to say the documents freeing the hostages did not unfreeze the arms shipments. But asked if the administration was considering retaliation against Iran, Haig said he wouldn’t speculate.
All that and much-much more for this January 28, 1981 as presented by CBS Radio News.