WASHINGTON - The Senate yesterday gave final approval to legislation that would fund the HOME and Community Development Block Grant programs in fiscal 1995 at significantly higher levels than the previous year.

The bill, which now goes to President Clinton for his signature, appropriates money for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and various independent agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, for the next fiscal year, which begins Saturday.

Under the legislation, which was approved by the House on Sept. 12, the HOME program would receive $1.4 billion in fiscal 1995 compared with $1.25 billion in 1994. The block grant program would receive $4.6 billion in fiscal 1995, up from $4.4 billion in 1994.

The EPA portion of the bill would provide $1.24 billion in fiscal 1995 for state revolving funds that help finance wastewater treatment plants and $700 million for a proposed revolving fund for drinking water facilities.

Congress is working on separate bills to reauthorize the wastewater treatment and safe drinking water programs, but both bills have been held up by various controversies.

The same holds true for legislation to reauthorize federal housing programs, including HOME and block grants, which are scheduled to expire Friday. The housing reauthorization bill sailed through the House but has been stalled in the Senate since August, when a protracted debate over health care reform kept other measures from coming to the floor.

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