Republican opponents of a moratorium on earmarks should expect a primary challenge, Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnDon't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways 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 RubioSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder MORE (R-Fla.), Rand PaulRand PaulGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill Paul: Pence should oversee Senate ObamaCare repeal votes MORE (R-Ky.), Mike LeeMike LeeGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation Overnight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease MORE (R-Utah), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonLawmakers share photos of their dogs in honor of National Puppy Day GOP targets Baldwin over Wisconsin VA scandal The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Wis.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteFEC commissioner to Trump: Prove voter fraud Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Lewandowski saw no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire 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 InhofeRepeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate GOP senator: EPA 'brainwashing our kids' A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R). Despite the pair's difference on the issue, Coburn praised Inhofe as a "dang good senator."