One of the concerns that prompted Reid to pull the bill was the administration's contention that holding a vote on additional sanctions before Iran did anything bad could scare off the Iranians from continuing to negotiate.
No such roadblock, however, will exist come January, something incoming majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted earlier this month. "What we ought to do, if we can't get an acceptable agreement with the Iranians, is tighten the sanctions," McConnell said, noting that while Reid prevented such a vote the last time, "that's the kind of thing a new Senate would be voting on."
Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a skeptic of the negotiations, said he expects Republicans to vote quickly on a trigger for strict new sanctions on Iran, but that such a measure might get slightly tempered by the need for Republicans to get a handful of less hawkish Democrats on board in order to surpass a presidential veto which requires at least 67 votes.
"Republicans are going to be in a position where they're going to have significant leverage to negotiate a tough bill. But the reality of the numbers is such that they still need at least 14, 15 Democratic senators to overcome any veto," Dubowitz said.
That calculus, Dubowitz suggested, could lead to a rare moment of bipartisanship in 2015.
"I think those numbers are there but I also think that they're probably only there if Republicans are willing to compromise," he said.