December 21, 2017 / 1:50 AM / a year ago

U.S. lawmakers seek temporarily extension to internet spying program

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, U.S. January 29, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are working to build support to temporarily extend the National Security Agency’s expiring internet surveillance program by tucking it into a stop-gap funding measure, lawmakers said.

The month-long extension of the surveillance law, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, would punt a contentious national security issue into the new year in an attempt to buy lawmakers more time to hash out differences over various proposed privacy reforms.

Lawmakers leaving a Republican conference meeting on Wednesday evening said it was not clear whether the stop-gap bill had enough support to avert a partial government shutdown on Saturday, or whether the possible addition of the Section 702 extension would impact its chances for passage.

Absent congressional action the law, which allows the NSA to collect vast amounts of digital communications from foreign suspects living outside the United States, will expire on Dec. 31.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Dustin Volz; Editing by Chris Reese

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