A House subcommittee advanced legislation Wednesday aimed at preventing the kinds of massive hacks of personal information that have hit Target and Home Depot in recent years.
Although Congress has tried—and failed—several times to pass data-breach legislation, the issue appears to have a new boost of momentum this year. Consumers and businesses are increasingly anxious about hackers stealing sensitive data, and President Obama urged Congress to act during his State of the Union address this year.
But most of the Democrats on the House Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee opposed the Data Security and Breach Notification Act on Wednesday, warning that it would undercut existing protections and ultimately leave consumers worse off.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, now heads to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, has said he plans to pursue similar legislation.
"Finding a workable bipartisan compromise that can become law has been elusive," Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, admitted. "But I believe that by focusing on how the criminals make their money, we can work together and achieve a workable solution for the millions of Americans impacted by identity theft and financial fraud."