POLITICS
10/13/2013 12:03 pm ET Updated Oct 13, 2013

Joe Manchin: Democrats May Consider 'Nuclear Option' On Debt Limit

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) suggested Sunday that some Senate Democrats may be willing to use what's known as the "nuclear option" to eliminate the need for Republican support to pass a bill to raise the debt limit and end the government shutdown.

Responding to a comment made earlier by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who noted that Senate Democrats have "several somethings" to help them prevent a U.S. default, Manchin said, "I would assume that they might be referring to the so-called nuclear option, if you have to use that basically to keep this country from falling into default."

The nuclear option refers to a Senate rules change that would require only 51 votes to end debate and call a measure to a vote, preventing the possibility of a Republican filibuster.

Any deal to raise the debt limit would, of course, still need to make it through the Republican-controlled House.

Manchin said he thought a rules change was unlikely and unnecessary.

"Do we go to 51 votes on the Senate side to prevent that from happening? I would hope we don't get to that," Manchin said. "I don't think we need to go that direction whatsoever and I think we can come to an agreement."

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