Senators seek 2/3 majority to override Obama veto on Iran sanctions bill

From the Oval Office, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 27, 2013. Credit: Pete Souza/White House.

( Supporters of a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Senate are looking to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto from President Barack Obama, reports say.

According to The Hill, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are moving quickly to bring a new Iran sanctions bill, titled Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, to the Senate floor for a vote. 

“We have a fighting chance of getting strong, overwhelming support as we have in the past,” a senior congressional aide told The Hill

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee is planning on debating the bill on Thursday. While it is unclear if the bill would come to the Senate floor for a vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he wants to act on it “very quickly.”

Last week, Obama and Menendez had a tense argument over the Iran sanctions bill behind closed doors at a Democratic meeting in Baltimore, the New York Times reported. Obama urged Democratic lawmakers not to pursue sanctions legislation, which he feels would undermine his authority and derail nuclear talks with Iran. 

In November 2013, Iran and the P5+1 powers (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany) signed an interim nuclear deal that limited new Western sanctions against Iran and provided a window for negotiations for a comprehensive deal. But the deadline for a final deal has been extended several times, with the latest deadline being June 30, 2015.

The new Menendez-Kirk bill expands on existing sanctions on Iran’s financial and energy sections, and would kick in if Iran and world powers fail to reach an agreement by the end of June. 

Posted on January 20, 2015 .