(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump repeated his desire to keep tax breaksfor workers’ 401(k) contributions Wednesday -- just hours after thechief tax writer in the House said his panel was exploring ways tochange retirement savings in legislation he plans torelease next week.

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Trump told reporters that preserving the 401(k) tax-deferredretirement plans is very important to him, and that he wanted tomake that clear. Earlier in the week he had said on Twitter thatthere would be “NO change to your 401(k),” calling them a “greatand popular” tax break for the middle class.

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“I wanted to end that quickly,” Trump said Wednesday ofdiscussions on limiting the tax break. “I didn’t want that to gotoo far, which is why I ended it very quickly,” Trump said as hedeparted the White House for a trip to Dallas. When asked aboutprior comments from Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of theHouse Ways and Means Committee, saying retirement changes wereunder consideration, Trump said: “Maybe it is and maybe we’lluse it as negotiating.” But he added that Brady knows how important401(k)s are.

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Nonetheless, Brady didn’t rule out changes to the retirementplans earlier Wednesday morning. Asked if proposals to limit the401(k) break were dead after Trump’s tweet, he said Republicans are"exploring a number of ideas" to "create an incentive for Americansto save more and save sooner."

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“We want more Americans to save more. We want them to saveearlier in their life. Right now we are not a nation of savers," hesaid, adding that House leaders are working with the White House onany solutions.

Savers' credit

Speculation about the tax treatment of 401(k) retirementaccounts has been swirling in Washington for months, as Congresstries to come up with revenue raisers to offset the historic taxcuts Trump has promised. Currently, workers can contribute as muchas $18,000 a year -- or $24,000 a year for those over 50 -- to suchaccounts from their pretax earnings.

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Reports last week said Republicans were considering reducingthat cap to as little as $2,400 annually. The move would pullfuture tax revenues forward by requiring Americans to pay taxes onretirement savings now instead of when they tap their nesteggs.

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John Thune, the No. 3 Republican leader and a senior member ofthe Senate Finance Committee, said members of the panel are“talking about” making a change to the retirement tax break, but nodecisions have been made. He said whatever they do, they will stillmake it a priority for people to have retirement savingsincentives.

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“The one thing we want to do is maintain incentives for saversthat are as good or better than what we have today,” Thune said.“That will shape our discussions, but we haven’t made any finaldecisions.”

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He said ideas on the table include moving toward a “fullRothification” which would have people pay taxes up front and puttheir savings in after-tax Roth retirement vehicles, and expandingthe saver’s credit, which is a retirement benefit for low andmiddle-income workers.

‘Class five rapids’

Still, Senator Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican and memberof the committee, said the idea of changing the retirement taxbreak has not entered into any of the meetings in which he hastaken part.

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“Creating a disincentive for Americans to save is not in thebest interests long term of the country or of the average person,”Scott said.

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The Sept. 27 tax framework released by the White House and GOPleaders sought to lay out some clear goals -- including setting acorporate tax rate of 20 percent and cutting tax rates onbusinesses and individuals -- but it doesn’t offer answers to someof the toughest questions, such as where to set income brackets orwhich corporate tax breaks to end. The House and Senate may gotheir separate ways in filling in the blanks -- and possiblychanging key provisions included in the framework -- ultimatelywalking back what Trump has said is non-negotiable.

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“We’re about to go through class five rapids, which are thebiggest rapids you can go through, and we got to make sure everyonestays in the boat and we get the boat down the river,” HouseSpeaker Paul Ryan said at a Reuters Newsmaker event Wednesdaymorning, referring to the need for GOP members to be unified aslobbyists fight to preserve special tax breaks. “That’s why thishasn’t been done in 31 years.”

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Brady also said he expects to announce a deal with concernedRepublicans from high-tax states on the state and local taxdeduction "before the bill will be laid out next week."

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"We’re working toward a solution," he said at a Washingtonbreakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "These lawmakersbrought us good ideas."

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The Texas Republican said he doesn’t believe cutting state andlocal tax deductions will force states like New Jersey and NewYork, which pay Washington more in taxes than they receive inservices, to become even bigger net donors.

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Brady said the House expects to adopt the Senate budget thisweek and that his committee plans to mark up the bill "shortlyafter" it’s released.

Top rate

"No decision’s been made on a top rate," he said. "We also havenot set the brackets and the income levels because we want to makesure we’re addressing the concerns from members in high-taxstates."

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He stopped short of promising that no middle-class American willpay higher taxes, saying he "can guarantee that every American willbe better off" due to a combination of lower taxes and higherpaychecks under the tax overhaul.

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Brady also declined to say whether carried interest will bechanged in the bill.

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