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“The government applies safety standards for cars, food, building structures and toys, to name a few,” Lieberman, Collins and Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement. “Why not do the same for the infrastructure that powers our economy and provides us with the highest standard of living in the world?”

However, that legislation remains stalled, facing opposition from senior Senate Republicans.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during a hearing last month that the Homeland Security Department is “probably the most inefficient bureaucracy that I have ever encountered” and is ill-equipped to determine how best to secure the nation’s essential infrastructure. McCain has introduced a competing bill.

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.