WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate could leave town this week for a monthlong break without passing legislation to protect the U.S. electrical grid, water supplies and other critical industries from cyberattack and electronic espionage.
Congressional sponsors of the bill scrambled Wednesday to overcome Republican resistance to the measure, but they appeared short of the votes needed for passage despite dire warnings from top national security officials about the potential for devastating assaults on the computer networks that control the country’s essential infrastructure.
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President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to pass the legislation as soon as possible.
“He strongly, strongly believes that this nation’s well-being is at risk from cyberattacks and intrusions,” John Brennan, the president’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, said. “We find it hard to believe there is any reason or basis to oppose this legislation.”
The principal stumbling block on Capitol Hill is what role the government should play in protecting U.S. businesses from cyberattacks. Republicans have argued that the bill would lead to mandatory rules imposed by Washington that would only increase the private sector’s costs without substantially reducing the risks.
Read More at OfficialWire. By Richard Lardner.