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Cathy McMorris Rodgers defends GOP tax bill

House Speaker Paul Ryan, joined by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the Republican Conference, meets with reporters at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington to discuss health care for veterans. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

An element of the GOP tax plan raised concerns for owners of expensive homes in Seattle and on the Eastside, but a Republican Congress member from Spokane says it isn’t worth worrying about.

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The Seattle Times reports that if the GOP tax plan is passed, interest payment on mortgages would only be exempt from taxes for the first $500,000. Right now, interest payments on the first $1 million are exempt.

For some homeowners in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, where the median home value surpassed $1 million over the summer, that could cause some problems.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Spokane and a large swath of Eastern Washington in Congress. She told Jason Rantz a broader view of the bill would quell apprehension.

“I would encourage people to look at the bigger picture though,” said McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House. “Look at the doubling of the standard deduction; the expansion of the child tax credit. These are provisions that are going to help hard-working men and women, American families, and that’s our goal.”

McMorris Rodgers also points out that this change only impacts people buying new homes.

“Current mortgages are grandfathered in,” she said.

Republicans have long been known for encouraging home ownership through their tax policy. McMorris Rodgers says this isn’t a departure from that trend.

“We do allow for the first $10,000 of property taxes to be deducted,” she said. “So, there’s still provisions to encourage home ownership, which is so important.”

Democrats have criticized the plan as a tax cut for the rich. McMorris Rodgers says it’s still early and they’re just starting the process to add amendments to the bill.

“Now we’re filling in all those details and writing the legislative text,” she said, “which is a huge undertaking.”

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