The House passed legislation Tuesday that would let the federal government guarantee loans to help small businesses cope with year- 2000 problems.

Under the bill, the Small Business Administration could back at least 85% of loans that financial institutions make to small businesses to repair-or recover from-year-2000 computer glitches.

Companies that get year-2000-related credit and already have SBA loans could receive guarantees worth $1 million, up from the current limit of $750,000. However, this special loan guarantee program would expire at the end of next year.

The Senate approved the same legislation on a 99-to-0 vote March 2. A White House spokesman said President Clinton will sign the bill as soon as possible.

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