Rep. Terry apologizes for GM hearing ignition joke

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) is apologizing for a joke about ignition switches made during a hearing on the recall of more than a million General Motors vehicles.

When he was late to Tuesday's hearing in the House about the GM recalls over the part, Lee said his "plane was canceled for mechanical reasons. Probably an ignition switch."

On Wednesday, he offered an apology for the off-hand remark, which was criticized as insensitive to the victims of the car crashes that led to the recall. The crashes caused 13 deaths.

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"No excuses, I said something I shouldn’t have and I apologize," Lee said in a statement. "I had no intention of being insensitive but made an off-handed comment that detracted away from the very important substance of today’s hearing on the GM recall." 

Terry added that he thinks "everyone can understand what it’s like to say something and not be able to take it back. 

"It just goes to show that no matter what point you’re at in life, we are all human and are all capable of making mistakes,” the Nebraska lawmaker said.

Terry's initial remarks came during a high-profile hearing that saw lawmakers in both parties grill GM CEO Mary Barra about the company's recall of 1.6 million cars that had a potentially dangerous ignition switch failure. The switches had been found to cause vehicles to abruptly shut off or have their airbags disabled.