Legislators pressed the head of General Motors Tuesday to disclose who knew what and when regarding the automaker’s faulty ignition switches that led to at least a dozen deaths. The answer, for the most part: Stay tuned.
GM CEO Mary Barra told a House subcommittee her company’s internal investigation is ongoing, pledging to provide answers on the decadelong problem that only recently led to the recall of millions of cars.
Time after time, Barra responded to questions with some version of “I don’t know,” but promised that an improved corporate culture since she took GM’s helm earlier this year would yield answers and prevent future problems. For many questions, Barra alluded to the investigation being conducted by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, saying his report will shed more light on the queries she was unable to answer.
That wasn’t good enough for some legislators. “I hold in my hands a February report and a March report to [the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration],” said Rep. Paul Tonko. “I’m confused somewhat about that fair amount of knowledge that has been formally exchanged to NHTSA. At the same time, we’re hearing, ‘We don’t know until the investigation is complete.’ There’s a conflict here.”
Rep. Tim Murphy, chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked Barra if she’d even read the report that GM submitted to the committee. Barra said she hadn’t, citing its 200,000-page length.
The problem stemmed from GM’s small-vehicle line. A faulty spring in some cars’ ignition switches led the vehicles to shut off after bumps, killing the engine and inhibiting braking, steering, and airbag deployment.
As far back as 2002, GM knew that the switch was not up to its specifications. Engineers looked at the problem in 2004 and 2005, ultimately deciding to advise drivers to keep heavy objects off their key chains.
Then in 2007, NHTSA was made aware of fatalities resulting from the ignition flaw, but did not investigate further. Not until February did GM begin to issue recalls on its vehicles.
The cost to replace an ignition switch totaled no more than a couple dollars, said Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman. Barra said cost considerations overriding safety concerns would be a serious problem if it proved to be true.
During the hearing, Barra also revealed that attorney Kenneth Feinberg would advise GM on compensation for victims.
What We're Following See More »
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.
According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.