WASHINGTON — The battle over funding for a Department of Justice program to root out fraud in the payments processing industry is heating up this week, as the Senate begins consideration of the law enforcement agency's appropriations bill.

The Senate began its consideration of a House appropriations bill for the Justice Department on Wednesday, which includes language cutting funding for Operation Choke Point. Critics of the program, including bankers and some lawmakers, have warned that it has overreached beyond its mission and is now chilling legitimate business activity rather than stopping fraudsters.

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