Week ahead: GM, NHTSA face heat on recalls

Officials from General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will face lawmakers this week about their handling of recalls that have been issued for several GM’s cars.

The highway safety agency issued a recall on the ignition switch of several mid-2000’s GM models earlier this year.

The agency has said that the switches experience problems, including turning off motors and disabling airbags, when they are used heavier key rings.

The NHTSA recall calls for drivers to "use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring" and take their automobiles in for repairs as soon as possible.

The recalls covers 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstices and 2007 Saturn Skies.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine whether GM and the highway and traffic safety administration accurately tracked complaints about the cars and waited too long to issue the recall.

The committee said the problems with the ignition switches in GM cars has resulted in 12 deaths and the panel said the recall has affected 1.6 million cars.

Officials with the Senate transportation committee said the hearing will focus in particular on “GM’s decisions over a more than 10-year period to not issue a safety recall and will consider whether the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the capability, data, and resources to effectively monitor vehicle safety defects.”

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill this week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold hearings about the Army Corps. of Engineers’ and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s budget requests for the 2015 fiscal year on Tuesday.

The panel will also meet on Wednesday to discuss “Disaster itigation: Reducing Costs and Saving Lives,” according to officials with the committee.

Additionally, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will meet Thursday to examine if the Obama administration is “ignoring the dangers of training Libyan pilots and nuclear scientists.”