As Senate Republicans mull an earmark ban, they have organizations to remind them such spending is unpopular with voters, according to the senator leading the push for a moratorium: Tea Party groups who want spending shrunk.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that although he has earmarked federal dollars for his home state in the past, the success of the Tea Party movement is a reminder that politicians who fail to help rein in spending can get tossed out of office.

Noting that he went "cold turkey" on earmarks four years ago, DeMint called himself "a recovering earmarker."

"Thankfully, there's support groups all over the country, and they're called Tea Parties," he said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

DeMint is leading a group of Senate Republicans who want their colleagues to pass a two-year earmark ban, mirroring a similar moratorium in the House.


DeMint said he disagrees with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who has said this ban will not have a significant impact on spending.

"Mitch is a good friend," DeMint said. "On this issue, we disagree. You would see spending go down dramatically if you took out all the earmarks."

Demint said he expects the ban to pass despite opposition from some Republicans.

"I think we'll win the vote," he said. "Just about every new freshman" supports the ban, he said.

One reason an earmark ban would have a larger savings impact than the dollar value of each earmark, Demint said, is that members are more likely to vote for a fat appropriations bill if it is laden with takeaways for their state.

Washington contains "just over 500 congressman and senators who think its their job to bring home the bacon and that takes your eye off the ball," he said.