- Associated Press - Thursday, August 2, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Senate has failed to pass legislation to protect the U.S. electrical grid, water supplies and other critical industries from cyberattack and electronic espionage.

The bill fell short Thursday of the votes needed to move it forward before Congress takes a monthlong break. The measure would have established a voluntary cyber-security program for the owners and operators of the country’s essential infrastructure and would have allowed federal agencies and businesses to share threat information.

President Barack Obama and top national security officials have warned about the potential for devastating assaults on American computer networks and urged Congress to pass the legislation as soon as possible. But Republicans argued the bill would have led to mandatory regulations imposed by Washington that would only increase the private sector’s costs without substantially reducing the risks.

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