Switzerland's lower house of parliament has for the second time rejected a government proposal on relaxing Swiss banking secrecy laws, a move that would have helped the country's banks avoid facing U.S. criminal charges for shielding tax cheats.

Switzerland's National Council, by a vote of 123-63 with four abstentions, Wednesday put to rest the proposal from Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and the rest of the Swiss Cabinet.

The government had presented the proposal as a way for Swiss banks to cut deals and turn over confidential client data to U.S. prosecutors without breaking Switzerland's strict client secrecy laws.

In spite of the upper chamber of the Swiss parliament twice backing the proposal, the lower house has twice balked at the measure this week, calling it unclear and overly submissive.