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Mr. Thomas said typical homeowners he has talked to are shocked that some legislators are even considering cutting the deduction. “The average American has decided it’s important to them,” he said.

While he says he wants to remain open to what House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp, Michigan Republican, comes up with in his tax reform bill, Mr. Thomas and his army of Realtors in town for an annual convention last week trooped up to Capitol Hill to deliver their message. One banner said it all: “Homeownership is not a loophole.”