The Democratic-run House on Thursday passed wide-ranging legislation that would reauthorize federal spending for most government housing and community development programs through fiscal 1987 but virtually halt the construction of new publicly owned low-income housing.
Approved by a 340-36 margin, the measure includes provisions to countermand new federal guidelines that could force the Aug. 1 eviction of tens of thousands of illegal aliens and their families from public housing.
A key committee in the Republican Senate last month endorsed a similar measure, even though the committee package--like the House bill--included an expansion of the controversial Urban Development Action Grant Program, which President Reagan has sought to kill.
The final House action ended two weeks of debate during which lawmakers, citing high vacancy rates and poor living conditions in public housing in many cities, voted to channel funds earmarked for new construction to renovation of dilapidated dwellings instead.
Other provisions in the bill contain a new program to aid first-time home buyers and a plan to assist public housing tenants in buying vacant units by offering them large discounts from the market value.
Backers claimed that there are at least 60,000 such empty publicly owned units around the country that could be sold. Public authorities in the United States operate nearly 1.3-million units, which are home to an estimated 3 million people, most of them either elderly or poor.