Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBlankenship third-party bid worries Senate GOP Overnight Energy: Feds eye rolling back Alaska wildlife rule | Park service releases climate report | Paper mills blamed for water contamination | Blankenship plans third-party Senate run The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ MORE (D-W.Va.) suggested Sunday that Democrats would consider raising the debt limit with only 51 votes in the Senate. 

Democrats tried to pass a $1.1 trillion increase in the debt limit Saturday, but they failed to achieve the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

On "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace asked Manchin to explain Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThis week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Dem lawmaker spars with own party over prison reform MORE's (D-Ill.) comment that Democrats have "several somethings" they can use as a back-up plan to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default. 

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"I would assume that they might be referring to the so-called 'nuclear option,'" Manchin said. "If you have to use that basically to keep this country from falling into default—do we go to 51 votes on the Senate side to prevent that from happening?" 

But Manchin said he hopes Democrats aren't forced to make that decision.

"I don't think we need to go that direction whatsoever, and I think we can come to an agreement," Manchin said.

The Democratic senator is part of a bipartisan group working with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Trump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress Dem rep to launch discharge petition to force net neutrality vote in House MORE (R-Maine) on a bill that would raise the debt ceiling through January, reopen the government and delay the medical device tax (a provision of Obamacare) for two years. 

But that effort now appears dead, and the focus has shifted to negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTeacher defeats Kentucky state House majority leader in GOP primary Conservatives leery of FBI deal on informant Lobbying world MORE (R-Ky.).

The federal government will exhaust its borrowing authority and begin defaulting on its debt as soon as Thursday, according to the Treasury Department.