House-Senate conferees yesterday approved a $67 billion spending bill for fiscal 1990 that provides significant increases for government-subsidized housing and veterans' medical care, while earmarking $1.8 billion for a start on a space station and up to $60 million for the low-orbiting national aerospace plane. Besides these big-ticket items, the annual appropriations bill covering veterans, housing, space, the environment and other agencies included funding for a host of smaller projects, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence." Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah) staved off a threatened $5 million cut for this research into the possibility of alien life forms. However, the most contentious issue at the three-hour meeting was the down-to-earth subject of Federal Housing Administration-insured loans. A Senate proposal would raise the current maximum FHA loan on a one-family home from $101,250 to $124,875. Appropriators said the higher level is warranted in many metropolitan areas where the cost of homes for moderate-income families has been pushed up by inflation. Another reason for the measure's popularity in the Senate is that it would produce an estimated $150 million in new revenue, in the form of loan financing "points" paid to the government by new borrowers. Though accepted yesterday by House conferees, the provision faces trouble on the House floor when the full bill goes there for final passage. Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tex.), chairman of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, has complained that appropriators are trying to increase the loan ceiling without his committee's authorization. Rep. Bob Traxler (D-Mich.), leader of the House conferees, said it is possible Gonzalez will offer separate loan-ceiling legislation. The conferees' bill is "game playing" to raise revenue, said a subcommittee source on Gonzalez's panel. "The chairman thinks it's nothing short of a scam." A second Senate provision would require the secretary of Housing and Urban Development to review FHA loans and encourage borrowers with older, higher-interest FHA mortgages to refinance them, reducing the government's liability. That provision is opposed by the securities industry, whose lobbyists have been warning that government intervention would disrupt the secondary mortgage markets by eliminating the stream of money from the older, high-interest mortgages. The mortgages are secured by widely traded paper issued by the Government National Mortgage Association. The House accepted the Senate's refinancing provision. But yesterday, Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), warning of the impact on the financial markets, tried to amend the Senate language. He was defeated by his Senate colleagues on a vote of 11 to 2. "We are stewards not of the mortgage companies but of the taxpayers," Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) said. "We should do this because it is good public policy." The bill approved yesterday also includes $11.5 billion for veterans' medical care and $9.2 billion for government-assisted housing programs, both sharp increases over 1989. NASA got $5.3 billion, less than the $5.7 billion sought by the administration but nearly 30 percent above the 1989 level. Included in NASA's funding is $10 million more than the administration's request for small probes aimed at analyzing climate and global warming. The Senate side agreed to the full $30 million sought by the House for the CRAF/Cassini space probes to take place in the mid-1990s. The probes include a comet rendezvous.