Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would consider limiting the size of the home mortgage deduction to help pay for an overall reduction in tax rates.

In an interview with a Denver television station Tuesday night, Romney suggested capping the mortgage deduction at $17,000 per household as part of a broad plan that includes a 20% cut in tax rates across the board. Denver is the site of tonight’s first debate between Romney and President Obama.

The mortgage interest deduction, according to some analysts, costs the U.S. Treasury roughly $50 billion a year in revenue. However, the deduction presently is capped for mortgages north of $1 million.

Some Republicans would like to do away with the tax benefit entirely or at the very least eliminate it for second homes. Any effort to trim the ability of consumers to write-off interest payments for home loans would be countered by intense lobbying from the mortgage industry as well as homebuilders and Realtors.

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