Senate GOP pushes for new Iran sanctions
© Greg Nash
Senate Republicans are pushing to impose new sanctions on Iran for a string of ballistic missile tests.
Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE (R-N.H.) introduced legislation Thursday the would impose sanctions on individuals who helped Iran's missile program or are tied to sectors of the economy that support the program and entities that own 25 percent or more of the missile program. 
It would also require President Obama to certify that any individuals named in United Nations Security Council resolutions aren't tied to the ballistic missile program and require the administration to impose sanctions if he can't make that guarantee to Congress. 
Ayotte's legislation is supported by nearly a dozen Republican senators so far, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power MORE (Ky.), Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power McConnell pushes back on Trump: 'There will be an orderly transition' Graham vows GOP will accept election results after Trump comments MORE (Fla.) and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish Trump argues full Supreme Court needed to settle potential election disputes MORE (Texas), who is running for president. 
The legislation comes after Republican senators, and some Democrats, pressed the administration to impose new sanctions against Iran after it tested ballistic missiles twice earlier this month. 
Republicans argue that not responding forcefully to the tests sends the message that Iran will be able to get away with cheating on a separate nuclear agreement. 
The administration announced new sanctions against approximately a dozen individuals tied to the missile program earlier this year, in response to a test last year. 
“I have repeatedly called on the administration to impose tough sanctions against Iran for its illicit and dangerous ballistic missile activities. That administration has failed to do so," she added Thursday. 
McConnell said last year that any Iran legislation would need the support of 67 senators —enough to overcome a potential veto — before he would allow it to come up on the floor. While Ayotte has voiced optimism that she will be able to get enough support, talk of new ballistic missile sanctions has divided Democrats. 
Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (D-Md.), however, told reporters that Democrats would get on board. He noted that he's talking with Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHas Congress captured Russia policy? Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, about new sanctions legislation. That proposal could be wrapped together with an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act and ongoing negotiations about security aid for Israel. 
Ayotte's legislation also includes an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, currently set to expire at the end of the year, through 2031.