Corker: Senate could override veto on Iran sanctions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) predicted Tuesday that the Senate would have the votes to override a potential presidential veto of Iran sanctions. 

"I believe that there are 67 votes in the Senate to extend the provisions of the Iran Sanctions Act to cause the sanctions to still be operative... in the event there's a need for sanctions to snap back," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman told The Hill. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Corker's remarks come after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned lawmakers last week that he wouldn't bring additional Iran legislation to the floor unless it had enough support to override a presidential veto. 
 
While the Kentucky Republican's remarks were aimed at Senate Democrats — who he predicted will become "born-again Iran bashers" — it also cast doubt on whether or not the Senate would take up the Iran Sanctions Act. 
 
With the nuclear deal all but guaranteed to survive Congress, a fight over sanctions legislation is shaping up to be the next political Iran scuffle. 
 
Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) have introduced legislation that would extend the Iran Sanctions Act, set to expire in 2016, through 2026. 
 
The bipartisan proposal formally only has one additional supporter, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). However, senators on both sides of the aisle, including Democrats who are supporting the Iran deal, have suggested that they would support extending the Iran Sanctions Act. 
 
The Menendez-Kirk legislation has been sent to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. A spokesperson for the panel didn't respond to a request for comment on if, or when, the committee could take up the proposal. 
 
Corker, who called extending the law "common sense," suggested Tuesday that the battle over the sanctions legislation was separate from the current stalemate over a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear agreement. The Senate is set to vote for a second time on Tuesday on the resolution, with Democrats expected to block the legislation from overcoming a procedural hurdle.
 
"I think there's significant support" for extending the sanctions, Corker said. "I think way beyond the resolution of disapproval support. I think we can overwhelmingly pass that." 
 
The Tennessee Republican predicted earlier this year that the Senate would take up and pass an extension, likely by the end of the year. 
 
Supporters of the law, which includes sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program, argue that Congress should pass an extension so that sanctions can be "snapped back" if Iran violates the agreement. 
 
While the administration hasn't specifically said it would veto an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, top officials — including Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew — have voiced strong skepticism about legislation. 
 
“We have enormous tools with or without the Iran Sanctions Act to snap back sanctions through the [National Defense Authorization Act] sanctions on oil and financial institution,” he told lawmakers earlier this year. 
 
Separately, a senior administration official told The Hill last week that the White House would oppose "any legislation that would interfere with the implementation of the JCPOA and any new sanctions unless it is warranted by specific activities of concern.”
 
But Corker predicted that, in a fight over the Iran sanctions law, Congress would come out victorious, adding "that would be a losing battle for them."