Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Wealthy outsiders threaten to shake up GOP Senate primaries 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 DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday 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. 

"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 CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy 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 ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters 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.