General Motors CEO Mary Barra's testimony before Tuesday's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee had fairly low drama despite the emotional subject matter. The hearing — titled “The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Why Did It Take So Long?” — was meant to investigate GM's culpability and response to faulty ignition switches in small cars. The ignition switches are believed to have resulted in injuries and deaths of several car owners.
According to CQ.com , House Investigators found that GM knew about the defects for a decade:
Investigators for subcommittee reported that GM executives knew for more than a decade about the defective ignition switches. In findings released over the weekend, the House investigators said federal highway safety regulators identified potential problems with Chevrolet Cobalts as early as 2007 but saw no “discernible trend” and “decided not to pursue a more formal investigation.”Members pressed Barra on GM's response and asked her to define what future steps the car company was going to take to avoid safety issues in the future. "Our customers who have been affected by this recall are getting our full and undivided attention," Barra said.
Before the hearing, members and customers affected by the faulty ignition switches held a press conference asking for legislative support and asked GM to create a fund for the victims. Below are photos from that press conference and from the hearing captured by the CQ-Roll Call photo team:
Barra assured members multiple times that GM is doing "a complete investigation." Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley asked the CEO if safety had always been "the number one priority" at GM. Barra said she "can't speak for statements made in the past" but that the company had updated it's core values.
"Hasn't the core values of General Motors always been that safety comes first?" Braley asked.
"I've never seen that part before," Barra responded.
Watch Braley's exchange and more highlights from the hearing below:
Barra also testified before the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Science Committee on Wednesday at 10 a.m. According to the committee, " the hearing will focus on GM’s decisions over a more than 10-year period to not issue a safety recall..." During the Senate hearing, Chairman Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told Barra that the lack of information was "frustrating."
"Well, that is incredibly frustrating to me that you wouldn't have a simple timeline of what happened once you got that knowledge," McCaskill said. Barra claimed there is still an internal GM investigation trying to determine the timeline of events after top executives were informed of the faulty ignition switches. You can read more about the Senate hearing at CQ.com.
Watch the full House hearing below:
John Rieger contributed to this report.