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GM's Barra Faces Senate Interrogation

Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors during a Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee hearing in Washington, on July 17
Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors during a Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee hearing in Washington, on July 17Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra is before Congress today for the fourth time this year, taking a hammering from the Senate Commerce Committee on her company’s fatally indifferent response to catastrophic defects in its cars. Ignition switches that slip into the off position while cars are in motion and have led to crashes and disabled airbags have been linked to at least 13 deaths and dozens of wrecks.

Senators Claire McCaskill and Barbara Boxer, Democrats from Missouri and California, respectively, were among the lawmakers assailing Barra. The CEO is testifying with GM’s top lawyer, Michael Millikin; Anton Valukas, a former U.S. Attorney who investigated the company at its request; Kenneth Feinberg, an outside expert who’s running GM’s victim compensation fund; and Rodney O’Neal, the CEO of Delphi Automotive, a supplier that made the ignition switch.