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Congress starts receiving documents related to GM's defective ignition switches

A congressional committee investigating the ignition-switch defect linked to a dozen deaths in General Motors cars received the first installment of documents from the car manufacturer Tuesday, it said in a statement.

The House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee expects to receive additional documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by the end of the week, it said.

Its hearing - "The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Why Did It Take So Long?" - will examine the way GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration responded to complaints about the defective ignition switches as well as reports of automobile stalling and the non-deployments of airbags.

"Our task is now to sort through these pages, and find an answer to the simple question posed by both the public and the families who lost loved ones in these crashes: Why did it take so long to address these safety problems and concerns?" said the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.

GM CEO Mary Barra and the acting administrator of the safety administration, David Friedman, will testify at the April 1 hearing.

"To get to the bottom of what went wrong, Congress needs to get answers straight from the top, and I am pleased we will hear directly from GM's chief executive, Mary Barra," said the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado. "I'm encouraged by her cooperation so far and hope that will continue so that we can work together to ensure Americans are safe on the road."