WASHINGTON — The mortgage interest deduction has been a pillar of U.S. housing policy for more than a century, but Congress appears ready to consider significant changes to it that some industry players worry could effectively render it pointless.

With Republican control of Congress secure and the White House soon to be in GOP hands, lawmakers are optimistic they can pass a bill that lowers tax rates and reduces a number of deductions. That includes the mortgage interest deduction, which under the current House plan would technically remain, but be effectively moot for nearly 95% of homeowners.

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