Republican opponents of a moratorium on earmarks should expect a primary challenge, Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard John McCain was a taxpayer hero The White House can — and should — bypass Congress to kill Obama-era spending 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"You bet .... They sure should," Coburn told The Weekly Standard's John McCormack when asked whether Republicans who oppose the moratorium should expect a primary challenge.

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 Antonio RubioJudd Gregg: Two ideas whose time has not come Nikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio MORE (R-Fla.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulA Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the Senate too Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE (R-Ky.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos Ex-college classmate accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week MORE (R-Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills MORE (R-Wis.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Pallbearers, speakers announced for McCain's DC memorial service and Capitol ceremony Tributes pour in for John McCain 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 (Jim) Mountain InhofePentagon releases report on sexual assault risk Trump privately calls Mattis ‘Moderate Dog’: report Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R). Despite the pair's difference on the issue, Coburn praised Inhofe as a "dang good senator."