WASHINGTON (8/21/14)--Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Wednesday said he would back a plan to reduce the available mortgage-interest tax deduction to apply only up to $500,000 in mortgage debt, down from the current $1 million in debt. He made his comment during a wide-ranging interview with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers."
Ryan said the tax break should be targeted to the country's middle class and not be something for higher-income earners.
Deductions for mortgage interest have been part of the tax code since its inception in 1913, and it is considered hugely popular with taxpayers. In fact, national opinion polls often indicate that between 75% and 90% of Americans support the tax provision.
The proposal to reduce the cap was introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who in March announced plans to retire from the U.S. Congress at the end of his current term. Ryan is considered by many to be the next chairman of Ways and Means, the powerful tax-policy writing panel.
Ryan, during the interview, rejected an idea of similarly capping charitable deductions by the wealthy. He was quoted as saying that is "the one area" where there should not be a cap.