Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) urged Democrats to negotiate with House Republicans in the battle over the national debt ceiling. He said not dealing with Republicans would be a “mistake.”

The U.S. federal government reached the self-imposed national debt ceiling last Thursday, putting the nation’s ability to pay its bills into question. In a letter, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned House members that defaulting on loans could be catastrophic for the world economy. Since then, House Republicans and the White House have been in a stare-down.

Republicans have asked for federal spending cuts, while Democrats have pleaded with the House to raise the debt ceiling for bills incurred by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Manchin said that Democrats should show good faith in American Democracy and reach across the aisle. Manchin, a famously moderate Democrat, is bucking the party line.

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“I think it’s a mistake because we have to negotiate. This is a democracy that we have. We have a two-party system if you will, and we should be able to talk and find out where our differences are. And if they are irreconcilable, then you have to move on from there and let people make their decisions,” he said.

Manchin, a staunch opponent of government spending, believes that Republicans have a point on the debt. He also thinks their game of chicken is limited in impact.

“Using the debt ceiling and holding it hostage hasn’t worked in the past,” he said on the program. “Every American has to live within a budget. If they don’t, they’re in trouble financially. Every business that’s successful has to live within a budget. Every state has to live within a budget. Shouldn’t the federal government have some guardrails that say, ‘Hey, guys … you’re overreaching here, and you’re overspending?’ But then pick your priorities. That’s all.”

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