WASHINGTON - A House Appropriations subcommittee approved legislation Monday night that axes funding for President Clinton's community development bank program in fiscal 1996.

Eliminating funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions fund, or CDFI, would mean that lenders helping small businesses in poor communities would have no seed money.

But Capitol Hill is looking for places to cut the budget.

"Termination will result in a $144 million savings from the fiscal year 1996 budget request," according to a document released by Appropriation's independent agencies subcommittee.

The program had scored a small victory last week when the House voted to put $50 million in the CDFI fund this year. However, Monday night's subcommittee vote casts a shadow over the future of the program.

The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the fiscal year '96 spending package early next week.

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