The Senate failed to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 that would have set voluntary standards to strengthen the network defenses of electric utilities, chemical plants and other privately owned infrastructure facilities.
The bill lost by a 52-46 vote.
“Rarely have I been so disappointed in the Senate’s failure to come to grips with a threat to our country,” said Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking member on the homeland security committee and one of the bill’s chief sponsors, along with Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Tom Carper and Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
The bill initially called for mandatory minimum security standards to shore up computer networks to be created with industry representatives. Those standards were designed to spur private companies that own life-sustaining equipment, including electric utilities and water systems to improve security.
In recent weeks, a group of Senate Republicans, including John McCain, made it clear they would block the bill. In an effort to save it, proponents scaled it back and received backing from the White House who publicly supported the bill last week.