The Interstate Commerce Commission, a casualty of deregulation of the rail and trucking industries, is a step closer to extinction.

The Senate joined the House on Tuesday in voting to abolish the ICC, an independent federal agency established more than 100 years ago to control the excesses of the railroad "robber barons."The voice vote gave Republicans a small victory in their mission to dismantle or shrink some government agencies they believe have outlived their usefulness.

The House approved similar legislation Nov. 14, and House-Senate negotiators now must reconcile differences between the two bills.

Like the Republicans, the Clinton administration also included the ICC's demise in its long-term plans to balance the federal budget.

However, the White House said in a statement Tuesday that while it strongly supports abolition of the ICC, it opposes the Senate bill because of several provisions. They include antitrust exemptions for the railroad and motor carrier industries, which the White House said would allow those industries "to impose artificially high rates on consumers."

Congress has tried for years to kill the ICC, which now regulates trucking, bus lines and water transport as well as railroads.