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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Intelligence and law enforcement officials just finished making the case to a Senate committee that a key surveillance law should be reauthorized — and made permanent — before it expires at the end of the year.

Why it matters: This battle includes Silicon Valley companies that have pushed for reforms to the law — which allows the government to seek its users' data. Watch for the fight to get more prominent as the expiration date on the law approaches.

The gritty details: The law in question here is Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is used to authorize surveillance of electronic communications of foreign nationals located abroad. But privacy advocates say that the law sweeps up the communications of Americans, and have pushed for reforms with support from the tech industry.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that they wanted a "permanent reauthorization" of the law.

Worth noting: Democrat Ron Wyden, a huge critic of the surveillance appartus, castigated Coats for backing off a pledge at his confirmation hearing to pursue data on how many Americans are caught up in the dragnet created by Section 702. "There were extensive efforts on the parts of NSA to try to get you an appropriate answer," said Coats. "We were not able to do that."

Go deeper: The hearing, while technically about surveillance, was also a venue for lawmakers to question the officials about alleged interference on the part of the White House in an investigation into the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Axios' Alayna Treene has more on their refusal to answer those questions in public here.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.