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House OKs security bill as veto looms

WASHINGTON - The House ignored Obama administration objections Thursday and approved legislation aimed at helping stop electronic attacks on critical US infrastructure and private companies.

On a bipartisan vote of 248-168, the Republican-controlled House backed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would encourage companies and the federal government to share information collected on the Internet to prevent electronic attacks from cyber criminals, foreign governments, and terrorists.

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“This is the last bastion of things we need to do to protect this country,’’ Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said after more than five hours of debate.

More than a decade after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, proponents cast the bill as an initial step to deal with an evolving threat of the Internet age. The information sharing would be voluntary to avoid imposing regulations on businesses, an imperative for Republicans.

The legislation would allow the government to relay cyber threat information to a company to prevent attacks from Russia or China. In the private sector, corporations could alert the government and provide data that could stop an attack intended to disrupt the nation’s water supply or take down the banking system.

The Obama administration has threatened a veto of the House bill, preferring a Senate measure that would give the Homeland Security Department the primary role in overseeing domestic cybersecurity and the authority to set security standards. That Senate bill remains stalled.

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