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Rubio: GOP Congress could hit Iran with new sanctions

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) believes the Republican-controlled Congress can press new sanctions on Iran after it convenes next week.

“I think we’ll have a supermajority, a veto-proof majority, to impose additional sanctions on Iran and to require the administration to come before Congress for approval of any deal that [President Obama] has with Iran,” Rubio said in an interview with NPR host Steve Inskeep due to air Thursday. 

“I think the same is true of the Keystone pipeline, potentially,” he added, alluding to the desire, widespread among Republicans, to approve the project.

{mosads}Rubio said some colleagues have expressed support for a bill that requires congressional approval for any deal with Iran, and imposes additional sanctions if such a deal is not reached over the next six months. 

Republicans will hold a 54-seat majority in the Senate next month and would need to build a 67-seat majority if they want to override President Obama’s veto on any given issue.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said over the weekend that in January, the Senate would take up a bill from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would place additional sanctions on Iran should it violate the temporary nuclear agreement or back out of talks.

Kirk said on Fox News’ “America’s News Headquarters” on Sunday that Republicans had 17 Democrats in favor of additional sanctions, giving them “a shot” at a veto-proof majority.

The Obama administration opposes new sanctions, despite the fact that some Democrats favor them.

“We continue to believe that adding on sanctions while negotiations are ongoing would be counterproductive,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in November after talks were extended through the end of June. 

Rubio said he doesn’t believe a deal can be reached with Iran.

The Florida lawmaker has seen increased attention in recent weeks due to a potential 2016 White House run.

Rubio said in another interview with The New York Times published Wednesday that “Republicans need to have some sort of immigration solution before 2016.”

In his NPR interview, Rubio pushed back against Obama’s suggestion that opposition to the president’s immigration policies was fueled in part by “a nativist trend in parts of the Republican Party.”

“The use of ‘nativist’ to describe opposition to his form of immigration reform is inaccurate and unwise,” Rubio countered. “I think there are very legitimate reasons to believe that this country has a right to immigration laws and to have those laws respected.”

Asked about whether he would launch a 2016 White House bid, Rubio told NPR, ‘We’re closer to a decision than we were a month ago.”

On whether his decision will be impacted by the likely White House bid of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Rubio said, “We certainly know a lot of the same people, we also know some different people. I don’t believe, if I decide to run for president, that that will be an impediment.”

Tags 2016 presidential election Immigration reform Iran Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio National Public Radio NPR sanctions Steve Inskeep

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