Republican opponents of a moratorium on earmarks should expect a primary challenge, Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE (R-Okla.) said.
Coburn, one of the conservative proponents in the Senate of a ban on earmarking, the process of directing spending in legislation to a specific project, put on notice his GOP colleagues who don't favor such a ban.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is offering a resolution to the Senate Republican Conference this week to adopt a moratorium on earmarks. The proposal has divided conservatives and pitted DeMint against some GOP leaders, who argue that banning earmarks would cede too much authority to the Obama administration on spending.
The ban is being driven by DeMint and many of the conservative candidates whom he helped push through primaries against establishment candidates and incumbent Republicans earlier this year. Many of these senators-elect make up DeMint's base of support for the earmarking moratorium, including Sens.-elect Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Marco RubioMarco RubioWhat’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? Boeing must be stopped from doing business with Iran Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms MORE (R-Fla.), Rand PaulRand PaulDestructive 'fat cat' tax law a complete flop. It's time to repeal it. Trump must take action in Macedonia to fix damage done by Obama and Clinton We can put America first by preventing public health disasters MORE (R-Ky.), Mike LeeMike LeeTrump signs order to end 'egregious abuse' of national monuments Trump takes aim at Obama monuments Trump should work with Congress to block regulations on prepaid cards MORE (R-Utah), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonTrump should work with Congress to block regulations on prepaid cards Five reasons to worry about the ShadowBrokers hack Border Patrol could drop polygraph requirement for new agents: report MORE (R-Wis.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteBottom Line How Gorsuch's confirmation shapes the next Supreme Court battle THE MEMO: Trump set to notch needed win with Gorsuch MORE (R-N.H.).
"Republicans can send a signal that they get it," Coburn said. "Or they can send a signal that they continue to not get it and say they're not going to change. And if they do that, they're going to pay for it at the ballot box."
The foremost opponent of the earmarks ban is actually Coburn's Oklahoma colleague, Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations Optimism rising for infrastructure deal Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R). Despite the pair's difference on the issue, Coburn praised Inhofe as a "dang good senator."