McKinley said private negotiations have been ongoing for months but that Republicans have blocked going to a conference committee because doing so would trigger a procedural deadline that would be impossible to meet.
Rep. Nick Rahall indicated that he would favor a clean bill to raise the nation's borrowing authority.
"Congress has a constitutional duty to honor its debts and ensure a proper functioning government. There are grave consequences if we do otherwise," Rahall, D-W.Va., said in an email statement. "My emphasis has been on taking action to address the debt ceiling quickly and cleanly, and without unrelated provisions that have stoked the current political standoff and government shutdown."
Manchin, in a conference call with West Virginia reporters, conflated debt limit questions with issues related to the ongoing partial government shutdown.
"If you're talking about finances, then finances is what we should be talking about. What the Republicans have done is throw every social issue in there," Manchin said, referring to Republican demands to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act in return for funding the rest of the government. "You think I wouldn't want to talk about our energy policy? . . . but I don't think this is the place to do it.
"You just don't hold the whole darn thing hostage."
Manchin said the funding levels the Senate approved, which keep in place the budget cuts known as sequestration, already represent a win for Republicans.
"That should have been a major victory," Manchin said. "That's when [Sen.] Ted Cruz [R-Texas] jumped in with Obamacare and held everybody hostage."
McKinley said the shutdown and the debt limit debate are not about Obamacare.
"This issue is not about health care, it's all about the economy," McKinley said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I don't want this to be an attack on health care."
Manchin, who voted with every other Senate Democrat to continue funding the government at current levels, also said the government should reopen before negotiations begin, but he appeared more willing to discuss fiscal issues in the eight days before the debt ceiling deadline.
"There's not going to be a default. I believe the adults will start talking," Manchin said.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller did not respond to requests for comment. Rockefeller's office is not answering phones or responding to emails while the government is shut down.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.