GOP Rep. McCaul calls for critical infrastructure protections

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He warned that cyberattacks could blow up natural-gas pipelines, derail trains, hack financial systems and cause chemical plants to leak toxins.

McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, is a co-sponsor of Rep. Dan Lungren's (R-Calif.) PRECISE Act.

The original draft of the bill would have set mandatory security standards for critical infrastructure systems, but Lungren scaled back the bill when GOP House leaders indicated they would not allow a vote any bill with new cybersecurity regulations.

The revised version of the bill would still authorize the Homeland Security Department to help critical infrastructure companies protect their networks, but the system would be entirely voluntary.

But House leaders have not scheduled a vote on even the revised version of the PRECISE Act.

"The goal for the cybersecurity package is to receive bipartisan support, and Democrats have made it clear that many of their members wouldn't support this provision," said Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Homeland Security Committee Democrats voted against the PRECISE Act last week and accused the panel's Republicans of gutting their own bill to appease their party leaders.

The White House and Senate Democrats are pushing for critical infrastructure mandates.

But the House is scheduled to vote on Friday on the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which relies only on voluntary information sharing and lacks any mandates for critical infrastructure.