By Brendan Sasso - 03/02/12 07:49 PM EST
Republicans, led by Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), introduced their cybersecurity bill, the Secure IT Act, on Thursday as an alternative to the measure backed by Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Collins (R-Maine), which is on a fast-track to a vote in the full Senate.
Unlike the Lieberman-Collins measure, the Republicans’ Secure IT Act would not give the Homeland Security Department the power to require critical computer systems to meet certain security standards.
The Republicans said such regulations would burden businesses and grow the federal deficit. Their measure focuses on encouraging private companies to share information about cyberthreats with the government and toughening penalties for cybercrimes.
Backers of the Lieberman-Collins measure say the regulatory powers are necessary to ensure that critical systems, such as electrical grids or dams, are secure from cyberattacks.