Democrats on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee have written to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, urging him to introduce legislation to raise the debt ceiling without pre-conditions, warning that the Treasury Department would not be able to pay tax refunds without a higher debt limit.

In announcing their letter to Boehner on Monday, they noted that the two-week government shutdown last October had delayed the start of tax season until last Friday. They pointed out that last year, 110 million taxpayers received tax refunds averaging $2,700, and nearly half those refunds were claimed by March 1. However, they complained that House Republicans are again threatening not to raise the debt ceiling unless certain demands are met, and that would risk the Treasury's ability to pay timely tax refunds for American families. In the absence of an increase in the debt ceiling, they noted, tax refunds can only be paid as money is received by the Treasury.

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