Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms

Congress is gearing up for a high-profile fight over reauthorizing a handful of controversial surveillance programs months before the 2020 elections.

After punting late last year to give themselves more time to negotiate, lawmakers now have 15 working days to figure out whether and how to reauthorize expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act by the March 15 deadline.

The policy battle comes as tensions are already running high in Washington after a weeks-long fight emanating from the Justice Department — which will also be at the center of the surveillance discussion — and with the November elections injecting a higher dose of politics into any discussion involving Congress and President Trump.