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House votes to block watchdog from imposing audit term limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a rare show of bipartisan unity, the House of Representatives voted on Monday to block an auditor industry watchdog from forcing companies to switch auditors, a regulatory move that could break up some business relationships over a century old.

The 321 to 62 vote was a partial victory for big businesses and major audit firms, which oppose mandatory auditor rotation, though it is still unclear whether there is any appetite in the U.S. Senate to take up the measure.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors, has been debating auditor rotation since 2011 as one way to ensure that auditors are impartial when they check companies' books.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington and Dena Aubin in New York; Editing by Gary Hill)

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