An early push in the Senate to pass new sanctions targeting Iran's ballistic missile program is threatening to divide Democrats. 

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are still hashing out the specifics, the issue is already splitting Democrats into two camps: Lawmakers who believe recent sanctions from President Obama go far enough and those who think Congress needs to further crackdown on Iran. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOcasio-Cortez criticizes Boebert Christmas tree and guns photo Five things to know about Russia's troop buildup near Ukraine  Senate Democrat says he will 'settle' for less aggressive gun control reform 'because that will save lives' MORE (D-Conn.) defended the administration's recent actions on Tuesday, calling the sanctions against 11 individuals tied to Iran's missile program “sufficient.”

“I think we should hold over Iran's head the prospect of additional sanctions should they continue to test, but I'm supportive of the steps the administration took,” he said, dismissing the need for Congress to take additional action. 

But Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineManchin quietly discusses Senate rules changes with Republicans Liberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill MORE (D-Va.), who had pushed for the administration to crackdown on Iran, said he's “not sure there's a need for more [sanctions.]”

Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff Senators propose sanctions against Iran over alleged plot to kidnap US journalist MORE (D-Md.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPharma lobby eyes parliamentarian Demand for US workers reaches historic high Senate votes to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for businesses MORE (D-W.Va.), who both opposed the nuclear deal, suggested that new sanctions against the missile program could get Democratic support. 

“It's something I'm very interested in. That was one of the reasons I could not support the original deal,” Manchin told The Hill. “On the Democratic side, I think it will be very well received.”

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Spending bill faces Senate scramble MORE (D-N.J.) also said Tuesday that he's working on new sanctions legislation unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program. He introduced legislation last year with Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.) to extend the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires at the end of the year. 

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday that he’s working on a package of Iran-related bills that would go further than the administration’s. 

“We're still hashing out the framework of what it would look like right now,” he said.

Corker also acknowledged the proposal will have to win support from Democrats to pass the Senate.

The renewed push in the Senate comes as House lawmakers voted — for a second time — on Tuesday evening to block the administration from lifting sanctions on Iranian entities unless it certifies they aren’t tied with terrorism or ballistic missile development. 

Asked about the potential for the Senate to take up legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — McConnell searches for debt deal votes GOP working to lock down votes on McConnell debt deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Debt limit maneuvers; Biden warns Putin MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters last month that Iran would likely be an "ongoing issue" and that they would be getting "advice" from the Foreign Relations Committee on potential next steps.