Responding to mounting public furor over the savings and loan scandal, the Senate yesterday approved broad new powers for the government to investigate and prosecute fraud, penalize violators and recover losses -- with generous bounties for informers.

The bipartisan proposal, drafted in consultation with the Justice Department during the past few weeks, was approved overwhelmingly as part of an omnibus anti-crime bill that was then passed and sent to the House by a vote of 93 to 6. The measure includes new penalties of up to life imprisonment for major S&L crimes that could be applied retroactively to crimes committed before the bill took effect.

House Democrats are drafting their savings and loan package that will be unveiled shortly, House Speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) said yesterday. The S&L proposals "will go through Congress like a shot," said Sen. Timothy E. Wirth (D-Colo.), a chief sponsor of the Senate package.

The anti-crime bill, threatened repeatedly during a month of rancorous debate and partisan posturing, includes President Bush's proposal to reinstate the death penalty for federal crimes and a modified version of his proposal to curtail appeals by death-row prisoners. Under the bill, 34 federal crimes, four more than Bush proposed, would be punishable by death. Most involve murder, espionage and treason.

Over administration objections, the bill would expand Bush's ban on importation of semiautomatic assault weapons to include some of the most frequently used domestic models. Nine types of U.S. and foreign weapons would be banned, including those most often used in drug-related violent crimes.

It would also tighten money-laundering curbs, authorize several thousand more federal agents and prosecutors, increase federal aid to state and local law enforcement agencies, strengthen federal efforts against child abuse and create new rights for crime victims. Bush's proposal to allow courts to consider evidence from warrantless searches was dropped.

The 99 to 1 vote in favor of the S&L provisions, with only Sen. William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.) voting no, underscored the heavy pressure lawmakers are feeling from constituents to contain the soaring costs of the industry's cleanup, punish wrongdoers and prevent fraud in the cleanup effort.

"American taxpayers have had their wallets picked clean" and are demanding action, said Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.), who joined Wirth in sponsoring the proposal.

Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Maine) acknowledged that the action came too late to prevent multibillion-dollar losses but said it was essential to prevent repetition of the scandal. "Obviously it is a recurring fact of human life that we learn from our mistakes," Mitchell said.

The political pressure building around the thrift scandal was also reflected yesterday in the House Appropriations Committee, whose members shouted approval of a proposal authorizing a major new role for the Secret Service in investigating savings and loan fraud. The action would result in assignment of 300 Secret Service agents to work with 600 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents working on the probe, according to Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Calif.).

"This gives the government an additional tool to put those crooks in jail . . . {to} get those bandits," said Rep. Silvio O. Conte (Mass.), the committee's ranking Republican, who vied with Democrats at a boisterous committee session to claim authorship of the enabling amendment to the 1991 Treasury and Postal appropriations bill.

The S&L provision that was added to the Senate crime bill would create a new "S&L kingpin" offense, punishable by life in prison, for violators who act in concert with at least three others and reap more than $5 million from their crimes over two years. The penalty of 10 years-to-life could be imposed on violators indicted after enactment of the legislation, even if their offense was committed before the bill took effect, senators said.

It would increase the maximum prison sentence for bank fraud and embezzlement from 20 years to 30 years, impose mandatory minimum prison sentences in cases of fraud exceeding $1 million and authorize the attorney general to bring suits for bank fraud under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law.

Bank fraud offenses would be added to the list of crimes for which wiretaps may be authorized. The government's power to seize forfeited property would be expanded, and violators could not go into bankruptcy to escape debts arising from breach of their duties.

In an unusual move, people who provide information to the government on fraud or location of assets would be eligible for cash "rewards" that could total $300,000 or more depending on the amount of funds recovered.

Staff writer Dan Morgan contributed to this report.