Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D) met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) Wednesday to urge the House Republican leader to negotiate with President Biden on legislation to raise the debt limit, a sign the senior West Virginia senator could play a pivotal role in bipartisan talks.

Manchin’s meeting with McCarthy comes at a time when other Democrats, including Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (Pa.), the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, say that Democrats should not negotiate over the debt limit.  

A source familiar with the meeting said Manchin encouraged McCarthy to negotiate with Biden to find a path forward that would avoid harming the American people.  

The source described the interaction as “a good meeting” and said “no commitments” were made.  

Manchin on Sunday called on the White House to negotiate with House Republicans over raising the debt limit, arguing it would be a “mistake” to expect Congress to authorize new federal borrowing authority without bipartisan talks. 

“We have to negotiate. This is the democracy that we have. We have a two-party system, if you will, and we should be able to talk and find out what our differences are,” Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”  

Manchin said he “respectfully” disagreed with Durbin and other Democrats who are urging their party leaders not to negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt limit, arguing that Congress has already approved the spending that would be covered by new borrowing authority. 

“If you’ve been here more than 15 minutes, you know what’s going to happen. We’ll be lurching from one deadline to the next,” Durbin told reporters Monday, predicting a prolonged standoff over the debt limit will roil financial markets. “It will devastate the credibility of our economy, something that’s unacceptable.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said House Republicans have “immediately resorted to brinksmanship and hostage taking” and declared they should put their proposed spending cuts up for a vote on the House floor before asking Democrats to make concessions. 

“If you want to talk about deep cuts, then you have an obligation, an obligation to show the American people precisely what kind of cuts [you] are talking about,” Schumer said on the floor.