Sen. Johanns pushes Law of the Sea Treaty ratification to the brink

Since treaty ratification requires a two-thirds Senate majority, Johanns's addition to the list means treaty opponents are now only three votes short of blocking the entire measure. 

Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate committee vote on DeVos postponed Cheney calls for DeVos to be confirmed ‘promptly’ With Trump pick Tom Price, cool heads can prevail on health reform MORE (R-Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Perry regrets saying he would abolish Energy Department Trump education pick to face Warren, Sanders MORE (R-Alaska), along with Maine Republicans Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP rep faces testy crowd at constituent meeting over ObamaCare DeVos vows to be advocate for 'great' public schools GOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday MORE, are in favor of ratification, according to Heritage Action, the Heritage Foundation’s advocacy arm, which is lobbying against Senate approval of the deal. 

But officials from Alexander's office said the Tennessee Republican is still undecided on the treaty itself and weighing his options regarding ratification. 

Alexander "is still taking a look at it and his vote is not certain one way or the other," according to Chief of Staff Ryan Loskarn.

That said, anti-treaty advocates have targeted eight Senate Republicans to close that three-vote gap. 

Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (R-N.H.), Thad CochranThad CochranGOP senators voice misgivings about short-term spending bill Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything Bottom Line MORE (R-Miss), Bob CorkerBob CorkerHaley ready for UN role despite dearth of foreign policy experience Top Dem: Don’t bring Tillerson floor vote if he doesn’t pass committee Trump’s UN pick threads needle on Russia, NATO MORE (R-Tenn), Mike EnziMike EnziDem senator: DeVos ‘sends shivers down the spine’ Trump Education pick: States should decide on allowing guns in schools Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wyo.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report Graham: Trump would make mistake in not punishing Russia Graham to vote for Trump’s EPA pick MORE (R-S.C.), Mark KirkMark KirkGOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal Republicans add three to Banking Committee Juan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama MORE (R-Ill.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanHillary gives Bernie cool reception at Trump inaugural lunch GOP governors defend Medicaid expansion Senators introduce dueling miners bills MORE (R-Ohio) and John McCainJohn McCainSenate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Trump fails to mention Clinton in inaugural address Hillary Clinton under microscope at inauguration MORE (R-Ariz.) are on the list, according to Heritage Action. 

But McCain has already joined others in the Senate in support of the treaty, claiming it could be a much-needed check on an increasingly aggressive Chinese military in areas like the South China Sea. 

Administration officials have long tied treaty ratification to maintaining stability in places like the South China Sea and other maritime hot spots in the Pacific and around the world. 

Treaty opponents in the Senate argue the pact does nothing to guarantee regional security along the waterways in the Pacific or elsewhere. 

The White House would also effectively tie the hands of the U.S. Navy to conduct operations in the region, because those missions would have to be reviewed and approved by treaty members, opponents claim. 

Aside from national security priorities, treaty ratification would also hand over power to the International Seabed Authority to distribute a portion of oil and gas royalties from offshore operations. 

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified in June that relinquishing that kind of authority to an international body "based on rhetoric about common heritage of mankind" was simply unacceptable. 

Despite the political jockeying by proponents and opponents of the treaty, a ratification vote will not take place until after the November presidential elections, according to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John KerryJohn KerryTrump fails to mention Clinton in inaugural address Hillary Clinton under microscope at inauguration Overnight Tech: Meet the key players for Trump on tech | Patent chief staying on | Kerry aide goes to Snapchat | Uber's M settlement MORE (D-Mass.).

--the story has been updated at 3:32pm to include comments from Ryan Loskarn, chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)