As I discuss in my question here, in January 2014 the Republican National Committee unanimously passed "Resolution to Renounce the National Security Agency's Surveillance Program", referring to the Bulk collection of phone metadata under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Yet now, when the PATRIOT act is set to expire at Midnight tonight, it seems like the majority of Congressional Republicans support renewal of the 215 program. (Athough not a sufficient number to overcome a filibuster, which is why the USA Freedom Act, requiring phone records be housed in phone companies rather than government servers, will probably be passed instead.)

My question is, what is the reason for this discrepancy? How is it that a resolution to end the program was passed unanimously by the RNC, when so many congressional Republicans want to continue it? Did something change between January 2014 and now, or is the RNC decision-making process unrepresentative of the views of elected Republicans?

2 Answers 2


The resolution was non binding and had no effect. It was basically the legislative equivalent of giving the NSA a dirty look. And come Election day 2014 their base was happy because all of their representatives made a show of how they were not going to stand by and just pass the patriot act again...

Well the election is over and then it is time to actually take action, well we wouldn't want to cripple a program that has had such great success in preventing terrorism. But don't worry come January 2016 Im sure the RNC will throw an even dirtier look the NSA's way while funneling money to their black ops and unconstitutional spying programs that have yet to have a single success... but hey lets not require the government to be effective now.

  • Are there any specific examples of Republicans who voted for the RNC resolution but now support a section 215 reauthorization? Jun 1, 2015 at 13:56
  • 4
    @KeshavSrinivasan Mitch McConnell. Jun 1, 2015 at 14:02
  • "we wouldn't want to cripple a program that has had such great success in preventing terrorism." To be clear, there is very little evidence that this is actually true even though this is the justification for this legislation.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 12, 2021 at 19:02

RNC members don't get to see what the NSA produces. Members of House and Senate, while they don't get the full access to NSA work product that the President does, still get significant access to its work in classified briefings.

Also, while rank and file Republicans often oppose the Patriot Act, rank and file Republicans are also usually very pro-military. And, in Washington D.C. intra-federal government politics, advocated for the military, who generally strongly support NSA surveillance are key allies whom they don't want to cross.

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