tv Closing Bell CNBC April 1, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
team that were also members of mr. akerson's leadership team, and to my knowledge they were not aware. >> okay. do you think there was a cover-up or it was sloppy work? >> that is the question i have asked the team to uncover and i'm awaiting the results from the study. >> do you think it had anything to do with the auto bailout? >> i'm sorry? >> with the auto bailout? do you think -- >> again, i need to get the results of the study to make all determinations. >> and going back to what mr. upton said, you're going to be sharing that information with us. >> yes. >> as you get those. >> we will be transparent. >> was there -- the engineers that were responsible for this, have you brought them into the process? i know this is something that the part was actually created by delphi, correct? >> correct. >> and they have an engineering team that was working on that, so they have a shared
responsibility and liability in this entire issue. have you met with them and with the engineering team that was responsible for this switch? >> i have not met with the specific engineering team that is responsible, but i am speaking to leadership and those individuals are being interviewed as part of the investigation. >> now, going back, did you say that this was a defective part when you talked about it earlier? >> we have learned when we knew -- when the recall decision was made and we later went back and looked at the chronology, there's points that suggest, and that's why we're doing the investigation. >> okay. all right. now, i think that you're going to hear from more than one of us about not having a new part number assigned. who made that decision?
was that strictly a delphi decision or did that come into the gm supply chain for that decision to be made as to how that part number would be coded? >> at a general level, general motors is responsible for general motors parts numbers but, again, that's part of the investigation to understand how that happened. >> okay. does that seem inconceivable to you? >> yes. it is inconceivable. it is not our process, and it is not acceptable. >> okay. i would think that it probably is not. have you asked delphi if you can have access to their documentation and their e-mail chain dealing with this issue? >> i have not, and we will go as the investigation takes to get the information we need to make a complete and accurate accounting of what happened. >> okay. my time has expired. thank you, mr. chairman.
i yield back. >> just for clarification, we have asked for that e-mail chain from delphi and we'll let you know when we get that. now recognize chairman emeritus of the committee, mr. dingell, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, i thank you for your courtesy. i begin by telling the families of those who were injured or killed by the defective general motors vehicles they have our sympathy and we believe the events here are tragic, indeed. and i join everyone in expressing my condolences to the families who were killed or injured in those crashes. now it is incumbent upon the congress, federal regulators, and general motors to determine how these deaths could have happened and to take reasonable steps to ensure that the safety of american motorists and their families are moving forward. i expect that this investigation will be thorough, and i counsel
all the stakeholders to be unabashedly forth th nforthrigh. miss barra, i'd like to build on chairman murphy's line of questioning, and all of my questions will require yes or no answers. if you cannot an some -- answer some of my questions, i expect you will submit responses for the record and all available relevant supporting materials. now, miss barra, is it correct that gm has now recalled approximately 2.5 million small cars in the united states due to defective ignition switches? >> yes. >> yes or no. now, miss barra, is it correct that gm recently expanded its recall of small cars because it was possible that defective ignition switches may have been installed as replacement parts, yes or no. >> yes.
>> miss barra, is it correct that the ignition switch in question was originally developed in the late 1990s and approved by general motors in february of 2002? yes or no. >> yes. >> miss barra, is it correct that general motors's own design specifications for such ignition switch required 20-plus or minus 5 newton centimeters of torque to move the switch from the accessory position to the run position? yes or no. >> yes. >> miss barra, is it correct that general motors approved production of such ignition switch despite test result by delphi during the production part approval process or ppap showing that the switch did not
meet gm's torque requirement? yes or no. >> it's not clear to me. >> now, miss barra, is it correct that general motors approved a redesign of the ignition switch used in the presently recalled vehicles in april 2006? >> yes. >> miss barra, and it connect that gm's torque rechoirmequirer the redesigned remained the same? >> it's not clear to me. >> when that information becomes available, would you submit to the committee? >> yes, i will. >> miss barra, to your knowledge, did the redesigned ignition switch meet gm's standards? >> i -- >> did the redesigned ignition
switch meet gm's torque requirement? >> it's part of the investigation. >> miss barra, will you please submit for the record an explanation of the factors that gm takes into consideration when approving a part for production, are there circumstances where gm may approve parts for production when such parts do not make such design specifications? yes or no. >> yes. >> if so, could you please submit materials for the record explaining when and why that might occur? >> yes. >> miss barra, i appreciate the lengths to which gm under your leadership is going to recall the vehicles and ensure that they're safe to drive. gm's cooperation with the committee is necessary in order to understand the process by which and the reasons decisions
were made leading up to the 2014 recall. you may have so far done so, and i expect that you will continue to do so. thank you for your courtesy, mr. chairman. thank you, miss barra. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. recognize the chairman emeritus of the majority, mr. barton of texas, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i ask my questions i want to make a general observation. this is probably the last major investigation that this subcommittee and full committee is going to conduct where we have the services of mr. dingell and mr. waxman. we've had a history on this committee and this subcommittee going back at least 40 to 50 years that the when we have major issues, we try to approach them on behalf of the american people in a nonpartisan, very
open way, and it certainly appears we're going to continue that tradition today, so i hope that we can show the best to the american people that the congress at its best, gets the facts, presents the facts, and does so in a way that in the future we protect the public health and safety for the american people. now, with that caveat, i do have a few questions. a number of congressmen so far have made the point that these ignition switches didn't appear to meet specifications, and my assumption is that you have agreed that they did not meet specifications. is that correct? >> we've learned that as we did the recall. >> now, i'm an industrial engineer, and i used to be a registered professional engineer. i'm not currently registered, but i have been in the past. why in the world would a company
with the stellar reputation of general motors purchase a part that did not meet its own specifications? >> i want to know that as much as you do. it is not the way we do business today. it's not the way we want to design and engineer vehicles for our customers. >> i mean, i just don't understand that. i've never worked in an auto assembly environment. i have worked in a defense plant, an aircraft plant. i was plant manager of a printing plant. i have done limited, very limited consulting in the oil and gas industry, but i have never been a part of an organization that said we set the specs. when a part doesn't meet the specs, we go ahead and buy it
anyway. you're currently the ceo, but at one time i think before you became ceo, you were the vice president for global product development purchasing and supply chain. is it your position now that general motors will not accept parts that don't meet specifications? >> we will not accept parts that don't meet our performance safety functionality durability requirements. as i mentioned before, in the steel example, there will be times where there will be a material or a part that doesn't meet these exact specification, but after analysis and looking at the performance, the safety, the durability, the reliability, the functionality, it will be okay. that happens very often as we buy steel to make the bodies of
the vehicles. >> then you don't need specification -- with all respect -- >> no but -- >> what you just answered is gobbledygo gobbledygook. it's your own specification. if a part doesn't meet the specification why in the world would not refuse it and only accept a part that meets a specification? >> there needs to be a well documented process if you accept a part that doesn't meet the original specification. >> will the gentleman yield? >> briefly, yes. >> do you have that information? >> on steel? >> no, on starters. >> on the ignition switch? >> yeah, if it didn't meet specification, do you have the information on the starters that it met all those other criteria? >> that is part of the investigation but clearly by the fact that we made a recall, it did not meet the performance -- >> we have the advantage as a subcommittee that we know now what happened in the past. we know now that there is a real
problem. we know now that a number of young people have lost their lives apparently because of this defect. so we have the advantage of hindsight, and so i understand that, but as was just said, there's no reason to have specifications if you don't enforce them. this next question is not a trick question, but it's an important question. right now, how many parts are being used in general motors products that don't meet your own company's specifications? >> i don't have that exact number but i can tell you the parts that we're using today meat the performance and the reliability, the safety that they need to. if we find we have a part that is defective, that doesn't meet the requirements, we then do a recall. >> again, with due -- that's not
an acceptable answer i think to the american people. we're not telling you the specifications to set. now, there are some safety specifications that by law and nhtsa by regulation sets, but there shouldn't be a part used in any gm product or for that matter any other automobile product that's sold in the united states that doesn't meet the specifications. my last question -- well, at what level was the decision made to override and to use this part even though it didn't meet specification? was that made at the manufacturing level, at the executive level, or even at some subcomponent purchasing level? do you know that? >> that's part of our investigation, to find that -- answer that question. >> all right. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. now recognize mr. braley for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
miss barra, we've had different perspectives during this hearing. you have been appropriately focusing your attention on the members of this committee and answering our questions and i have been staring at these photographs on the back wall, and i see young women the same age as my daughter. i see young men the same age as my two sons. my son paul owns one of your cobalts. i see a young marine in his dress blues, and i'm reminded of the photograph i have in my office upstairs of my father at the age of 18 in his dress blues at camp pendleton, and the focus of this hearing so far has been on gm's commitment to safety, which i think we all agree on is an important topic for this hearing. you testified in your opening, and i think i'm quoting, our customers and their safety are at the center of everything we do, and you responded to a question from miss blackburn and told us that you were going to
run gm differently than its been run in the past, and i have a copy of gm's march 18th press release announcing jeff boyer as your new vice president of global vehicle safety, and in this press release he is quoted as saying, nothing is more important than the safety of our customers in the vehicles they drive. today's gm is committed to this, and i'm ready to take on this assignment. 20 years ago before this hearing, an iowa family harmed by another defective gm vehicle gave me this promotional screwdriver set that they got from their local gm dealer. and if you look at it, on the outside it has a slogan. safety comes first at gm. so my question for you, and i think the question that these families back here want to know is, what's changed at gm?
isn't it true that throughout its corporate history, gm has represented to the driving public that safety has always been their number one priority. >> i can't speak to the statements that were made in the past. all i can tell you is the way we're working now, the training that we've done, we've changed our core values, the decision making we're leading, we're leading by example, we're -- you know, one of the process changes we've also made is in addition to when the technical community makes their decision about a safety recall or a recall, we are going to be reviewing it. mark royce, the head of global product doft, aevelopment, and to see if there's more we want to do. >> hasn't the core values of general motors always been that safety comes first? >> i have never seen that part before. >> isn't it true that throughout the history of the company it's made representations like this to the driving public as a way
of inducing them to buy your vehicles? >> today's general motors -- all i can tell you is today's general motors we are focused on safety. we have over 18 vehicles that have a five-star crash rating. our entire buick lineup meets that requirement. we take -- >> but we're talking about these vehicles and what's changed. have you had a chance to read this article in the saturday "new york times," a florida engineers eureka moment with a deadly gm flaw? >> i believe i read a portion of that article. >> it's by bill vlosic, and he wrote in here about an engineer named mark hood who was at a loss to explain why the engine in brook melton's cobalt had suddenly shut off causing her fatal accident in 2010 in georgia. then he bought a replacement for $30 from a local gm dealership and the mystery quickly unraveled. for the first time someone
outside gm even by the company's own account had figured out a problem that it had known about for a decade and has now linked to 12 deaths. even though the new switch had the same identification number, mr. hood found big differences, and then the article continues, so began the discovery that would set in motion gm's worldwide recall and one of the gravest safety crises in the company's history. do you agree with the author that this is a grave safety crisis in the history of general motors? >> i have said that this incident took way too long. it is not acceptable, and that's why we're making radical change to the entire process, adding more resources, naming a vice president of global vehicle safety who is tremendously experienced and of the highest integrity and we will continue to make process changes and people changes as we get the results of the investigation,
and we will take all of those recommendations and we will make changes. >> before i yield back, mr. chairman, i would like to ask unanimous consent to have this article added to the record for the hearing, if it's not already part of the record. >> without objection. >> if the gentleman would yield his remaining second, miss barra said they had changed their core values. i think it would be great if she could submit to us what those new core values for gm are so we would have those for the record. >> i'll ask that for the record. >> and i would also like to have any prior statement of core values from general motors over the last 20 years so we can see what has changed, mr. chairman. >> we'll be asking members for several questions do s-- to submit to gm. >> dr. burgess. >> thank the chairman and the witness for spending so much time with us this afternoon. you mentioned, miss barra, that over a decade ago general motors embarked upon a small car
program. do you recall why that was? >> snii'm sorry? >> why did gm embark on a small car program? >> to have a complete portfolio, i believe. >> but the mission or the type of car that was manufactured by gm previously had not filt fit that model, so this was an entirely new business line that gm was undertaking? >> the cobalt -- there are several products but if you're speaking specifically about the cobalt, it was following a previous small car but it was an all-new program architecture, et cetera. >> was any part of this done because of the cafe standards that were changing? was any of this done because of congressional action that had occurred previously? >> i cannot answer that question. i wasn't in a decision making at that point. >> let me ask you this, when mr. waxman was giving his opening statement, he said it was a
shame that the national highway traffic safety administration did not have access to the same information that general motors had. do you think that was a fair statement for him to make? >> as part of the investigation we're doing, i'm looking at what information was provided and when. >> and that's, you know, becomes then the troubling part of all this. i think the ranking member had you look at tab eight in the information binder, and this was talking about the ignition key cylinder assembly and the date of the pdf that i have is january 1st of 2005. again, you'll find that under tab eight, but later on in the same document it says we are closing this with no action. the main reasons are all possible solutions were presented. the lead time for solutions is too long. the tooling costs and price -- piece price are too high and
none of the solutions seem to fully countermeasure the possibility of the key being turned off. so that was all in january of 2005, and then, you know, as part of our document evaluation for getting ready for this hearing, there were several accident reports that were supplied to us, and one of those occurred not too far away in maryland in the middle of the summer of 2005. in that accident sequence a cobalt hit a series of trees at the end of a cul-de-sac. the driver was fatally injured during that. she wasn't wearing a seat belt. wasn't a terribly large individual. she weighed about 100 pounds. because the air bag did not deploy though, it would be my -- you have to wonder had the air bag deployed, were her small frame have been protected. she broke the rim off the steering wheel because of the impact of the collision. her body with the steering wheel and steering column.
of course, the steering wheel being somewhat indented toward the driver, the lower part of the driver's body, hit her under the rib cage, apparently resulting in a liver laceration which resulted in the ex sanguine sation and the time sequence to get her out of the crash and get her to the hospital. you can't help but wonder because the other injuries that were reported with that crash are really fairly mild. you got to believe the air bag would have made a difference there. i just can't help but think that the people evaluating this must have asked themselves why not air bag went off with this type of crash? she was going 70 miles an hour and hit an oak tree. wouldn't that be a logical place for an air bag to deploy? >> first, it's a very tragic situation. some of the fatalities in these vehicles, again, we see as a tragedy and we have apologized. as i read the document that you asked me, i find that unacceptable that any engineer
would stop at that point if there was an issue that they felt was a safety defect, and that's why we're doing the investigation again to put a complete time line together, and i commit to you we will take action, and we've made process changes. we will fix the process. our goal is to have a world class safety process. >> and i respect you for being here and answering that way. one of the other accidents that is recorded in our binder under tab 20 was a head-on collision that occurred i believe in pennsylvania where the cobalt was not at fault. another car went over the center line and there was a head-on impact. again, the cobalt air bags did not deploy. the driver of the vehicle vehicle, the air bag did deploy. it should be a red flag to people who investigate air bag nondeployments as an issue. in fairness let me state that all of the front seat occupants in both vehicles were deceased
as a result of that accident. the deployment of the air bag in that situation did not protect -- preserve the life of the driver. but still, you would have to ask the question, you have a cobalt and a hyundai meeting head-on, why did the cobalt's air bags not deploy? it was exact same force for both vehicles and there was no intercedant jarring of the vehicle. they didn't run off the curb, didn't run over another tree first. so the air bag did not deploy and why would that have been the case in that particular accident? >> again, it's a tragic situation anytime there's a loss of life in a traffic situation. again, this is not a report -- or an investigation that was done by gm. i can't answer your questions because it's usually very complex as they look at that. so i can't comment on this particular study. >> if that is part of your internal investigation though, i would like for you to make that information available to the committee staff and to the committee. >> we will make whatever information we have available. >> thank you. and thanks for being here.
>> gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. braley talked about the pictures in the back, and i think that what must make it even more painful is that these deaths were needless. so i want to ask you about something a little bit more than an apology. one of the many questions raised about gm is how -- gm today is how you will handle accidents that happened prior to the company's bankruptcy. gm filed for bankruptcy in june 2009 emerging as new gm about six weeks later. so that means that new gm, the company as it exists today, i have been told may not be liable for accidents that occurred prior to july 2009. is that your understanding, miss barra? >> we at general motors want to do the right thing for our customers and that's why we feel
this is an extraordinary situation. as i have said, it took too long to get to the answers and the understandings about this part. that's why we've hired mr. fineberg. we feel mr. fineberg has had extensive experience and he will bring his experience and objectivity to assess what are the appropriate next steps because we do understand that we have civic responsibilities as well as legal responsibilities. >> are you saying that the hiring of mr. fineberg indicates that gm will give some kind of settlement with those individuals whose -- the families whose loved ones lost their lives? >> we are -- we have just begun to work with mr. fineberg. in fact, our first meeting will be on friday. it will take probably 30 to 60 days to evaluate the situation, so we have not made any decisions. we have just started this process with mr. fineberg.
>> and that might include people who have been injured as well? >> again, we have not made any decisions. >> let me ask you this. during gm's restructuring, did the company disclose what it knew about this ignition switch defect? by 2009 there is no doubt officials in gm were aware of this problem. >> i was not aware of this issue. i can't speak to what was disclosed, so, again, our investigation will cover if there was any information, but to my knowledge it was not known at the senior leadership of the company. >> so does gm accept responsibility for the accidents caused by the company's defective vehicles? >> first of all, again, i want to reiterate, we think the situation is tragic, and we apologize for what has happened, and we are doing a full investigation to understand -- >> i'm talking about responsibility and even liability. >> responsibility -- i'm sorry, i don't understand.
>> and even liability. do you take responsibility? is the company responsible? >> we -- >> the new gm, is it responsible? >> we will make the best decisions for our customers recognizing that we have legal obligations and responsibilities as well as moral obligations. we are committed to our customers, and we are going to work very hard to do the right thing for our customers. >> i hope that you do do the right thing. let me ask you about some of the people who potentially knew about this. where is my -- so you have appointed a new -- for the first time a president of global vehicle safety. i have to tell you i am underwhemed by that. thinking that it's such an obvious thing to have someone high up that would, in fact, be able to connect the departments so everybody knew. i guess it's a good thing, however, that it's finally done.
so we know that ray degrogio approved the ignition switch design in 2006. is he still an employee of your company? >> i believe he is. >> do you know who signed off on the initial faultyi ignition switch that did not meet your specification? >> i don't but that's what i will learn after the investigation. after we have a complete investigation from a very complex process, we will take action. we will change process and we will deal with any people issues. i think we demonstrated in the issues we learned in india about a year ago, we will take serious steps and hold people accountable. >> so no one right now has lost their job as a result of this knowledge about this defective part? >> we are just a few weeks into
the investigation. we have already made process changes, and as i return to the office after this, we will begin to look at the implications now that we have more data coming from the investigation and take the appropriate steps. >> thank you. i yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from georgia, dr. gingrey for five miminus.am chairman, than much. this hearing is muchate. prot poi pretty poignant to me since brooke melton lived in my congressional district at that time and had it not been for an outstanding plaintiff's attorney in the cobb judicial district in georgia in bringing this case, i'm sure it was against the local dealership, resuld in a settlement, but it brought to light what's going on now and the purpose and hopefully some good can come from this hearing. and i want to thank chairman murphy for holding it and
investigating the root causes of the general motors recall of over 2.6 million vehicles linked to these ignition defects. unfortunately, miss barra, i heard just yesterday that the recall now includes 6.3 million vehicles. and i do want to speak a little bit about this young lady named brook melton. a nursing in georgia, which at the time was in the district i represent. and she was as you know tragically killed march the 10th, 2010, on her 29th birthday in a horrific side impact accident on highway 92, and the ignition switch in the accessory position. just the day before, just the day before her death, she took her 2005 chevy cobalt into the dealership for service, and the service report stated, customer states engine shut off while driving.
please check, end of quote. despite the fact that a service bulletin was issued from general motors for faulty ignition switches back in 2005 for that make and that model, the on-site mechanics cleaned the fuel line, cleaned the fuel injection, told her to come pick up her car which she did. brook melton's tragic death is not acknowledged as part of this recall because it involved a side impact instead of a front impact. mrs. melton's parents, ken and by beth, they're not here today i don't think, but they deserve answers. is brooke melton included in general motors's death count, yes or no. >> to my knowledge, no. >> no? >> because it was a side impact. >> right. why did general motors not include the nondeployment of air bags from side impact accidents resulting in loss of life or
injury in this recall? >> as you look at a frontal collision and the way the air bag is to operate, i believe the assessment -- that was the assessment was made that would potentially be related to the switch. >> yeah, but miss barra, if you connect the dots, i mean, the ignition gets knocked other ee the accessory position. there was a problem using faulty even by your own standards equipment, and so maybe what happened was that all of a sudden the car stalls, she's driving perfectly trying to control without any power steering, without any power brakes, may very well have -- and i don't know the details of that accident, but may very well have run through a four-way or a red light and was slammed into from the side. whether it was a head-on collision or a side collision, it was from the same reason and she is dead, and that was almost four years ago.
i don't understand why general motors does not include the nondeployment of air bags from side impact accidents resulting in loss of life or injury in this recall. can you explain that to us? >> well, first of all, all of the accidents and fatalities of very tragic as you've indicated and we're deeply sorry for those. we have been very clear of the number that we put forward. there's been a lot of analysis that's gone on to look at potential incidents, and -- >> well, does general motors investigate or do you plan to investigate whether this condition relates to the nondeployment of air bags and side impact crashes? >> we have individuals that are looking at the available information from accidents -- >> you told us about your recent hire, and i hope -- lastly, miss barra, to what extent did gm regularly inform dealerships like the dealership obviously in
cobb county of its 2005 technical service bulletin on faulty ignition switches so that these service technicians, these young guys, you know, maybe working there six months to a year, that they could properly address a customer complaint like brook had the day before her death? >> i'm sorry, was your question how do we communicate service bulletins? >> how do you make sure that these dealerships all across the country and their service departments are making sure that their technicians are getting and receiving the instructions? >> we can provide details on exactly how we communicate service bulletins and how that rolled out to each of our dealerships across the country. >> i hope you will. thank you, miss barra, and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> miss barra, related to his questions with all these cars in recall and waiting for parts, what are drivers supposed to do in the meantime while their cars sit in their driveway? >> we have communicated and we've done extensive testing that if you take the -- if you
have just the ignition tee with the ring or just the ignition key, the vehicle is safe to drive. if people are not comfortable with that, we are making loaners or rentals available. they can go to their dealer. we have over 13,000 customers that have these vehicles in rentals or loaners right now. >> and you're assuring people that it is safe to drive if they just take the other things off the key -- >> there's been extensive testing done by the engineering team and with just the key and the ring or just the key, we believe it is safe based on our testing. >> recognize -- >> excuse me, mr. chairman, is that true of the earlier ignition as well as the 2006 -- all of them? all these cars? that's true? >> that is our -- yes. >> thank you. >> recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. miss barra, thank you for appearing before the committee and i have to believe for the family members and friends of
the victims of this tragic outcome, must be very painful process to sit here and listen to the exchange. just a comment at first. we're hearing a lot about information that will come post the investigation or the review. however, i hold in my hands a february report and a march report to nhtsa on behalf of gm under your watch that provides detailed time lines with a whole bit of knowledge exchange, and i'm confused somewhat about that fair amount of knowledge that has been formally exchanged to nht nhtsa, and at the same time we're hearing, well, we don't know until the investigation is complete. so there's a conflict that i think is brought to bear here in terms of an exchange that's been
detailed in the last few weeks under the watch of the new general motors, today's gm, and at the same time when i was listening to our representative from illinois ask about the corporate chart and the changes, no changes have been made. we're waiting for that pending the investigation, but at the same time we've characterized or relabeled it as today's general motors. so while we're all products of the environment that produces us, the cultural impact of gm seems to still be in play with a number of people who have perhaps shifted positions but all part of that organization. so comfort me by telling me that there's a new thinking, there's a new culture that's beset gm
while all the players are there in the corporate chart. tell me how the company has restructured and reorganized so as to bring comfort to the consumer. >> first, there are many new people in the company as well as people who have experience across the company. there is a new structure for instance in global product development. we've streamlined, eliminated bureaucracy. we took out an entire layer of management in the product development. we've completely redone the quality processes over the last -- it started in the 2011-2012 time frame. we changed our test procedure. we've added additional validation. so there's been a complete remake of the way we drive quality. we test to failure instead of testing to a standard. that's just one example. and we've looked across the entire organization. we've rebuilt our supplier
quality organization adding over 100 resources just in this country alone. so there's systematically we've gone across the condition and we're making changes. even in the chronologies which i think you held up, those are the most detail eed chronologies we have ever provided. but we're conducting an investigation. we've also rolled out new values, relationships matter and individuals. most importantly it's leadership at the top. it's the leadership of how we behave, of how we demonstrate when we make decisions, and that we make decisions that focus on the customer, focus on safety, focus on quality, and i can tell you from my leadership team and the next layer, we continue to drive that every day. we recognize culture change doesn't happen in a year or two, but we are well on that journey and we will -- are dedicated to
it and we very clearly want to have the safest vehicles on the road. >> and will you make that list public from the report that you're anticipating? >> i'm sorry? >> will you make the list that will be coming forth public? will you share -- >> the list of, i'm sorry? >> the full report coming from mr. valucas. >> he will give us findings and we will make the appropriate findings available to this body, to our customers, and to our employees. >> the appropriate findings. what about the full report? >> i'm not -- i don't know if he'll give a report or if he'll share findings -- >> if he does, will you share the full report? >> we will share the appropriate information. >> not the full report? >> again, i don't know if there will be a full report but we will share -- >> if there will be a full report, will you share it? >> i commit we will be very transparent and we will share what's appropriate. >> so in other words there's no commitment to share the full report. >> i'm saying i will share what is appropriate.
>> i hear the answer. mr. chair, i yield back. >> chairman yields back. recognize the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. appreciate you having this hearing. miss barra thank you for being here and let me first say my prayers are with all the families of those who lost their lives and others who have been impacted by this. i want to thank you all for being here in this room as well. obviously the questions we have are even more pertinent to the families that are here and that's why it's important that we ask the questions and get answers and if we're going to work to make sure that we can prevent something like this from happening again, we've got to get into the real details of what went on during those period of years, unfortunately years where it seemed somewhere inside of general motors there was knowledge that this was a problem before it got to the level of recall, and i want to first take you, miss barra, to
the tab you've got there, number 38. tab 38 is the signoff. it's called a general motors commodity validation signoff. this is the actual sheet that the engineer signed off on that approved the design change in the faulty ignition switch. have you seen that document before? >> this is the first time i have seen this document that's labeled delphi. >> now, what the we're talking about here, how long have you been aware of the problem with these faulty ignition switches? >> i was aware that there was a faulty ignition switch on january 31st. >> of this year? >> of this year. >> so as you're going through -- i'm sure some of the questions you have and are asking may be some of the ones we're having, first question you would want to know is what did we know about it?
when did we know? did we know well in advance and why didn't we prevent it from happening? the first thing we're all talking about is when was that found out within gm to the point where they actually made a change. you all made a design change. the letter i have here, this form, is dat april 25th, 2006. 2006 is when your engineers, and there's an actual engineer who you just said under oath earlier is still employed with gm. there's an engineer that actually signed this document requesting, not requesting, approving a change in this ignition switch. in fact, with the part number. the part number is on here. has anyone in your knowledge has anyone at gm taken -- he's an employee of yours. you can just pull him aside right now and asked him when you signed off on this in 2006, number one, why didn't you change the part number? and number two, why did you approve a change in the ignition switch and not bring it to the level of recall in 2006? clearly people lost their lives
after this was signed off on. so do you know right now, you're under oath, do you know of anyone that has asked the person that signed this, that signed off on this, have any of you all asked him those basic questions? >> i know this is part of the investigation, and i want to know the answers to the questions you're asking -- >> so do you know of anyone who asked him that question. he's an employee of your right now. you could pull him aside right when you leave here today and ask him these questions. >> but i think it's very important as we do an independent investigation that we let mr. valucu s do a thorough investigation, that there's not a lot of side investigations going on. he is the one standard that we're going to use in this investigation. he brings the objectivity to it. >> clearly, you know, you talk about a new culture. has anyone been held accountable as of now for what's happened? >> again, we are just -- we learned of this on january
31st -- >> again, you have a design change in 2006 related to what we're talking about. this is not a 2014 issue. the recall was issued in 2014, but the product, the faulty ignition switch we're talking about was redesigned in 2006 by one of your engineers who is till an employee at general motors. if you can't get me that information and if you do find that information out by the way, will you get that to the committee? >> it will be part of the investigates and we will share it. >> the other question i want to ask you because later on we'll have the acting administrator of the national highway traffic safety administration, he says, number one, we're pursuing an investigation of whether gm met its timeliless responsibilities to report and address this defect under federal law. are you aware of whether or not gm has met its obligations of timeliness? >> that will be part of the investigation -- >> so you're not aware at this time?
if you were aware of something, that would be a violation of federal law. if you're aware of that already, can you share that with us? >> i am aware of the findings that i have already shared today. >> and another question he asks in the brief time i have left, he says gm had critical information that would have helped identify this defect. that's the gentleman these testifying right after you. you don't have the opportunity to come behind him and respond. he's going to be saying this. he's writing this in his testimony. what would you say in response to his statement that gm had critical information that would have helped identify this defect? >> as i have already said, we have already learned through the investigation that there were points in time where one part of the organization had information that wasn't shared across to the other side of the organization. you can call it a silo. at some point they didn't understand that the information would be valuable to another party. so i have already shared that we have found that to be true and we've already made changes to the structure and to the responsibilities of people so
that won't happen again. >> we appreciate getting the full range of answers to all these questions, and with that i yield backle balance of my time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> now recognize mr. green for five minutes, of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. miss barra, first of all, congratulations on being the ceo of general motors. like a lot of my constituents, i have been a customer of gm. in fact, i can't list the number of vehicles i think i have owned. my wife drives a tahoe, i lease a malibu. i have a blazer and so -- and we keep them for a long time, and so i have appreciated gm products and you have heard the questioning today from -- and it seems like on a bipartisan basis, we're trying to find out what's happening. although, mr. chairman, i know you heard it, i was surprised because dr. gingrey is a good friend of mine and a physician and to say he thanked the plaintiff's lawyer, he's at least got democrats and
republicans on the same side. phil is not here but there's a reason we have a civil bar. you've gone down the litany of the other questions of the problems that were happening. in 2002 the switch was acknowledged it was below specs. in 2005 the dealers were notified of a problem. but it was because of heavier key rings. i thought about my wife's key ring she uses. it like has everything in the world on that key ring. i couldn't imagine that would be an issue, but i guess getting down to the concern i have and in 2007 you modified the switch ignition for future models, but though the switch ignition still fell below the initial torque standards by gm. let me give you an example of what this has cost. i have a constituent who i talked to yesterday before i left houston whose mother, lois, owns a 2003 regal which is ten
years old, and she's owned gm products like i guess i have for many years, but the regal began stalling and turning off in february of '13 and even the car had less than 50,000 miles. since she's owned the car it's gone to the dealer and the battery has been replaced and each time the dealer did not fix the prawn. she ended up finding and i will quote miss knutson, she finally found a shade tree mechanic who actually fixed it. and i guess what bothers me, if you go back to the dealer this many times, and i hold the dealers' repair shops to a higher level simply because they know the product, that what has happened, can you confidently say the stalling issues are limited only to the cobalt, the hhr, the pontiac g-5, the solstice, and saturn ion and the sky models of vehicles or is it
other ones like the regal or maybe like the malibu i drive? >> again, i'm not aware of any other stalling issues. if we have an issue, we put it into our recall process and make decisions. if there's a defect you're aware of, i would appreciate the information and i will definitely look into it. >> well, we'll get you that information from what they had. i have a couple minutes left, but i represent a very industrial area. we have refineries and chemical plants. what we do is inherently dangerous, and so you have to take extra concern about it. it looks like in the last ten years gm has not somewhere along that line the culture of the company is not there to deal with that. and as the new ceo, i would hope you would make sure it happens, and i have said this many times and i have a chemical plant or refinery that has an accident and somebody dies and we've been able to pinpoint sometimes with civil justice but sometimes
through chemical safety board on what the decision was made that they didn't do that caused people to die. that's what happened here. and general motors is a much greater company than to do that. i would hope the culture of your corporation would be better so it can continue to earn the respect that both this lady and i have but that's your job now as ceo, but you need to fix it. and fix it as quick as you can because it's going to cause problems obviously. >> i agree with you. it is completely my responsibility, and i will work day and night. we've already made tremendous change at general motors. we'll continue to do that and i recognize it's my responsibility. >> the last thing in my 30 seconds is should that -- my constituent, should she have her mother in phoenix take that regal back and have it checked by a dealer now to see what happened? >> and i wish she would send a note to me -- >> i will get you that information and we'll check. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i recognize mr. griffith for
five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. miss barra, you have indicated that not having a new part number when the part was changed in 2006 is not acceptable, is that correct? >> yes. that's correct. >> and i guess it's hard to figure that somebody would have just done that by accident and that there had to be a reason because that was a breach of protocol, wasn't it? >> i don't think there's an acceptable reason to do that. >> okay. and while there may not be an acceptable reason, you would have to acknowledge that a reason in somebody's mind, while not acceptable, might be that it's actually harder to track the problem with the old part when you have an improved new part that's put in its place, isn't that correct, yes or no? >> yes. >> yes. and while you have indicated that you did not know the individual name of the person who made that decision, do you know whose job title it was or in whose chain of command it was
to make the decision not to create a new part number for that part? >> i don't. it would be within the engineering organization but i will learn that from the investigation and we will take appropriate action. >> and would that engineering department have been under your chain of command at some point in your tenure with gm? >> since february of 2011. >> but in never got to you, nobody ever brought this to your attention? >> no, it did not. >> i appreciate that. i do have this question and i think the answer probably is your investigation will reveal this, but it is somewhat concerning that while the trial lawyer that uncovered this may be very savvy and his expert might be pretty sharp, you all have sharp people working at gm as well, do you not? >> i believe we do. >> it's one of those questions i'm sure your investigation will uncover, but why didn't your team of engineers connect the dots and figure out that when the ignition slips into that x
auxiliary position, the air bags won't function properly? >> congressman, those are the questions i want to answer. it's taken way too long and we will learn from this and we will make changes and we will hold people accountable. >> not only holding people accountable, you were asked earlier and i know you're in a tough spot on that as to what kind of liability gm will end up accepting because there's legal liability and moral liability and you've said that. one of the questions that i would have would have been a whole lot easier just to have actually listed these liabilities in the bankruptcy, would it not? it would have been easier to do it in the bankruptcy instead of having it come out now, wouldn't it? >> the best thing in the world would be as soon as we find a problem we fix it and it doesn't exist in the marketplace and doesn't affect our customers and doesn't create tragedies. >> and here is one of the things that concerns me. have you been given any estimates yet by mr. fineberg or others as to what a best case/worst case scenario is on
your civil liabilities. >> we have just been in initial conversations with mr. fineberg. i believe we will work through him to evaluate the situation over the next 30 to 60 days. >> has anybody else given you a best case or worst case scenario? >> there's been a lot of estimates done in the public but none given specifically to me. >> okay. would those liability issues have negatively impacted the prospects of either a bailout by the federal government or prior to the bailout the people who were lending you money to keep gm afloat with its heavy liabilities already existing? would not the additional liability that is would have come forward by this problem have had the potential to dissuade private investors or the federal government from giving cash to gm? >> as i look at it, as soon as
we identify an issue and fix it, then there aren't liabilities or the liabilities are contained. and that's what -- as we look at problems as we go forward, we want to fix them as soon as we can, and if there's a safety issue, we're going to make the change, make the right investment, and accept that. >> all right. welcome to "the closing bell." bill? >> i'm bill giriffeth, i'm kell evans. we've had a pretty good rally as this hearing as continued on capitol hill. the s&p is at a record high. the transports are at a record high. it's our first three-day consecutive win streak, kelly, something they didn't do at all in march. >> that's right. and, look, a lot of people sighing with relief as we turn the calendar to april. traditionally the best month of the stock market and certainly the case today. we're again seeing a strong first day rally of the month. we haven't had that in five months. we're seeing trends consist went april and we're seeing gains across the indexes. the s&p 500 on pace to close at
a record high. >> new money coming into the markets. biotech is very strong. can it continue tomorrow? we'll take a look at that coming up. stay tuned now for this hour of the "the closing bell" with kelly evans. kelly? >> welcome to "the closing bell." i'm kelly evans. a record close for the s&p 500. let's begin with a quick look at how we are finishing up the day, april 1st on wall street. the dow is up 73 points or la almost half of 1%. still about 46 points off the closing high there. the nasdaq up about 69 points or 1.6%. so this is looking like a counter trend rally to start the next quarter after what we saw in q1. the s&p 500 adding 13 points today, significant that we set both intraday highs and we're closing at a new record high of 1,885. joining me our very own sharon
epperson, marcus lemonis, lee munson and our very own kate kelly. viewers have been watching general motors ceo mary barra testifying before congress, and at this point the question becomes what happens with general motors' shares, the auto industry generally, sharon. the numbers at least for today were still pretty strong. >> certainly, but we are still looking to see what the public reaction is going to be to the testimony and the ongoing federal investigation as well as what gm knew at the time. of course, barra only being in her position as ceo for a short period of time but being at the company since she was 18. a lot of folks are going to say, hey, you may not have been in the c suite at that moment but you know a lot about what's going on and what surprised me is she has not yet interviewed the engineering team that may have been responsible for the problems. a lot of questions that came up in the hearing today. >> marcus, what are some of your thoughts here, and again we're going to have much more on this
topic but i want to get a quick reaction to at least the hour we've just heard. >> i think she's being very careful to not put herself in a bad position. she putting herself in the bus and not letting anybody else get in front of the bus. i'm seeing true signs of leadership. >> i was thinking as you were talking in terms of not speaking to the engineers yet, i'm sure she probably wants to go through the legal process properly. she doesn't want to have material information about what went wrong before the company's own investigators, lawyers get to that. i would assume that's the reasoning, but, yes, what a trial by fire for any ceo, let alone in your first couple of months on the job, not at all minimizing the experience of these families who have had such tragedies, but definitely a challenging time for a business leader. it would seem she's trying to be somewhat transparent and also take notice of the families and their needs. >> lee, is general motors in your portfolio? >> it is not and i think it's important for us to think about what's at stake today. what's at stake is the inference is if a publicly traded company
gets government funding and has a cozy relationship, no different than a pfizer or exxon, should we hold them to a higher accountability when something like this happens? i personally think the best way to deal with this is through the litigation process but there's something special about this and i think it's hit a nerve with investors. it's hit a nerve with main street america. i think we need to acknowledge that and see that for what it is. >> just thinking through what you just said with regard to then being publicly owned. this is a unique situation, right? >> it is. >> the auto industry in this country collapsed during the financial crisis. there was a bailout. now that raises different issues about to what extent the company will be liable criminally, civilly before and in today's iteration but is that the same as comparing it to say a publicly owned -- by public i mean a company owned by the u.s. government. >> companies do bad things all the time. there's no real clean company out there. when you have something high profile like this, if this was ford, i think it would be a little different. because they got a government bailout which has nothing to do
with this tragic situation, we're holding them to a higher accountability or at least -- that's why we're talking in the media right now because we think somehow fundamentally gm is being treated different than something else. >> i think that's a very interesting point. i also think though if you read some of the newspaper accounts of what went down here, there's a very insidious, frightening story line that involves, you know, ignition keys being quietly changed after a problem was discovered. people losing their lives. one intrepid family hiring their own engineer to figure out what went wrong. ordering spare parts. the problem went on. i'm sure more details will be disclosed and i don't want to jump to assumptions. it's a very troublesome type of cover-up. >> gm shares were down a quarter of a percent today. what was general an up market. they have given up at least 15% of their value since january here. so we're seeing actually quite a big reaction given whether it's financial sector, some of the other companies that have
traditionally dealt with issues. this relatively speaking is a huge expression of concern by investors. >> it's huge but i think if you think about what's coming in the future in terms of what's going to happen on the dealership lots in the next 60 days, i'm surprised the stock is not down a lot more. >> there are going to be probably a lot of changes as a result and what is interesting to watch as we look at the broader picture, certainly not minimizing in any way the loss of life which really should be the main focus of many of these investigations, but we're also looking at perhaps a different time in washington where as a result of the bailout and as a result of some of main street's concern about what does this mean in terms of the government's reaction to these problems, will we see politicians be even harder now as they want to keep their roles and want to seem that they are less biased -- >> and a lot of politicking as well. that's all part of this. it's a midterm election year. also want to mention something else going on in washington shortly today. president obama will be speaking about the affordable care act.
yesterday, of course, the deadline for enrollment there. the numbers still coming in. again, still going to be an issue of how many people have actually paid, what happens when the care begins, what happens next year as the kotz of cacosts adjusted. the health care sector has been an area of tremendous focus and that has more to do with innovation happening on the biotech side and also the cost of a lot of medications, a lot of lawmakers here focused not just on what's happening with america's car companies but with some of the big drugmakers, too. >> absolutely, kelly. i think we've seen health care in general has been a huge theme, a positive story in the last couple years as people have anticipated changes to the system through obamacare among other things. so i think there is certainly a huge focus on this obviously today. we also have new information about the number of registrants perhaps being more in line with what the administration had hoped. i'm sure we'll hear more language about that. this is going to be an area to watch. >> lee, i want to know, it's april 1, beginning of the second
quarter, how are you repositioning if at all and what trends to you expect over the next 90 days? >> i think from the macro trend, the market goes higher. april is generally a very good, strong month, one of the strongers months historically for the s&p 500. i think it's important that people keep a very balanced allocation. don't go chase health care stocks. i think it's relevant because that's been a huge sector over the last year, and it's -- for a lot of conservatives out there that have been against the affordable care act, it's been shocking that health care has done so well. at the end of the day, you have to stick with the u.s., stick with where -- >> you're not playing with the emerging markets here? >> okay, fine. here is the deal. all last year you guys know i was talking about emerging markets being a great value. boy, was i wrong. it was down 5%, 6%. i can admit it, but i do think if you look last month, emerging markets were up 5%. they got great momentum. they haven't made up their losses for the year. i think if you have at least 10%, 15%, no more than 20% in your portfolio, you're buying
deep value, especially -- you can buy these state owned companies at 90 cents on the dollar because they're so blown up. >> i want to hit on oil here because this is one macro that hasn't been getting enough attention. there was a lot of talk, barron's over the weekend talking about $85 a barrel oil. this will be a tax break if you want to frame it that way for consuming nations, potentially in this country as well helping consumers who need a little relief right now. do traders expect this to happen. >> we heard from bp earlier today, one of their executives talking about the fact that more regulation likely to defeinitel depre depress commodities including oil. oil has been kind of in this flat mode and we could likely see, if we see more regulation, perhaps we could see more pressure on oil prices as well. as many of the other fundamental issues that some of the traders are watching that could continue to keep prices down. >> although if i could just play devil's advocate, i had a guess on last week who is a recently
retired energy and commodity trader of many years and he said he's never seen a more precarious moment globally in terms of potential crude prices because of the geopolitical issues we all know about whether it's iran, the new issue was russia in light of sanctions and the ukraine. whether it's nigeria even, libya. there could be -- >> and we've also never seen so much supply here in north america. so you have both of those sides taking place, and the reality is if we can get the north american crude where it needs to go, which is somewhat of a big if -- >> major infrastructure issues. >> we will see prices capped. >> it always comes back to washington. we have to leave it there. we'll take a quick break but still ahead we'll have from our panel of crisis management experts on how ceo mary barra is do doing today. obamacare reaching 7 million enrollees. president obama is set to speak about meeting that goal. we'll bring it to you live as soon as it happens. you're watching cnbc, first in
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we wanted to check in with them now for some thoughts so far. larry is a corporate crisis manager. jeff sonnenfeld is senior associate dean at yale school of management. eric is also a crisis manager and ceo. eric, you think this was a lot of theater and what matters is how mary barra does in that capacity. what do you make so far of the testimony? >> look, a congressional hearing is a very specific animal in crisis management. it's not an investigation. it is really a degradation ceremony designed to attack a cultural villain. there is nothing to win in a hearing like this. there is only the capacity to endure and despite what you hear about apologies, all an apology is is the price of entry. so what you have seen is the beginning of the beginning, and your goal in a situation at the very beginning like this is to not fall down, and i don't think that she did any worse or any better than anybody in a
situation like this so it's all right to begin with. >> larry, you said what's at stake for gm is for mary barra to get them the benefit of the doubt as far as lawmakers are concerned. do you think she's succeeding on that front? >> i do. you know, unlike eric, i do think there is something to be gained. it's not a huge victory. it's like she's walking into a room with 20-some prosecutors, all of whom have their own story. she's a defense attorney who is trying to gain for her client, her company, the benefit of the doubt, and so far i think she's done a pretty good job. >> jeff sonnenfeld, what's your reaction here? >> i hate to take the fire out of this panel, but i actually agree with larry and eric on this point, that this was an important stage, and she's conducted herself extremely well. the only point i would disagree with eric saying that she hasn't done better or worse than most, she's done better than most. do you remember how tony heywood of bp was disdainful and sneering of coming before
toyota, jack nasser before alan mullally and bill forward changed the culture. they've been disdainful. she was there, she was very open, transparent. michael milken, their general counsel. she's not over lawyered the way so many ceos are. you get a lot of blather. she's been responsive, and she's -- >> mary barra's performance is only one piece of that. in fact, a relatively small piece of that, eric. part of this goes back to senator richard blumenthal calling on gm to set up a compensation fund. what additional steps do knee need to take? >> there needs to be a reckoning with the past and a transformation of the future. victims need to be compensated. any need to find out what went wrong. in terms of the future, safeguards need to be put in place to prevent things like this. there needs to be -- there need to be financial incentives,
rebates, new designs. so the whole pr component of this is a tiny aspect of what needs to be done, and if you look at how these things are resolved, a lot of it begins with preaching to the choir, your own consumers, get them back, and then you embark on the long journey. remember, with toyota everybody was asking on shows like this, are they finished? can they recover? last year sales were up 75%. >> right. the only thing i disagree with is the pr is not inconsequential -- >> it's not inconsequential -- >> it matters. it's very important they actually frame the issue in a productive way is that she's not out there vilifying the victims the way toyota and others have done. she's out there seeing the legitimacy of critics. bringing in ken fineberg. he has a new book out. she's a step ahead of us here in anticipating what might be a proper adjudication of damages -- >> i think that's the point. >> last word, larry? >> i think that's the point.
you have a story that is untold and there's a ton of uncertainty in it. you have a panel here that wants certainty. all she can do is draw credibility and attention to herself, say i'm going to fix it. i care. we're going to make changes. >> right. remember though, it's not just the panel that wants certainty. this is about the customer. it's about gm's image oto buyer. is this a step forward? >> trust is something that comes with personal experience with a person or a product. it doesn't come through rhetoric. so, you know, you listen to a lot of the rhetoric. you hear everyone loved this word transparency, yet the very same people who promull gate transparency would never survive it and barra when questioned and i think correctly didn't say she was going to give over absolutely everything that is found in an investigation. so that's not fully transparent, yet the word transparency is embraced at the same time. i think she's been very, very
strong on not getting blackmailed into taking responsibility for things that we don't even know about yet. >> we got to leave it there for the time being. we will have more on gm's recall. sorry, guys. we'll have more on the recall crisis i should say. that's still it come. congressman morgan griffith just left the gm hearing. we'll get his reaction to mary barra's testimony next and a big win for obamacare. i'm sorry, we're actually going to go to the representative right now. he joins us, representative morgan griffith of virginia. representative, thank you for being with us. so are you satisfied with the answers that you have heard from mary barra thus far today? >> i certainly think she's going to have an investigation and find out some of those answers but we didn't get all those answers today. i think there are a lot of things we need to know. the biggest one being why when they changed the part in 2006 they didn't also change the part number. that makes it a lot harder to track the accidents and figure out what's going on and that was a big question -- >> congressman, i'm sorry to
interrupt you but the president has begun speaking on obamacare. please take a listen. >> a big part of the affordable care act kicked in as health care.gov and state insurance marketplaces went live, and millions of americans finally had the same chance to buy quality, affordable health care and the peace of mind that comes with it as everybody else. last night the first open enrollment period under this law came to an end, and despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces. 7.1. [ cheers and applause ]
[ cheers and applause ] the truth is even more folks want to sign up, so anybody who was stuck in line because of the huge surge in demand over the past few days can still go back and finish your enrollment. 7.1 million. that's on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family's plan. that's on top of the millions more who have gained access through medicaid expansion and the children's health insurance program. making affordable coverage available to all americans including those with pre-existing conditions is now
an important goal of this law and in these first six months we've taken a big step forward. and just as importantly, this law is bringing greater security to americans who already have cov coverage. because of the affordable care act, 100 million americans have gained free preventative care like mammograms and contraceptive care under their existing plans. [ applause ] because of this law nearly 8 million seniors have saved almost $10 billion on their medicine because we've closed a gaping hole in medicare's prescription drug plan. we're closing the doughnut hole. and because of this law, a whole lot of families won't be driven
into bankruptcy by a serious illness because the affordable care act prevents your insurer from placing dollar limits on the coverage they provide. these are all benefits that have been taking place for a whole lot of families out there, many of whom don't realize that they've received these benefits. but the bottom line is this, under this law the share of americans with insurance is up and the growth of health care costs is down, and that's good for our middle class and that's good for our fiscal future. [ applause ] now, that doesn't mean that all of the problems in health care have been solved forever. premiums are still rising for families who have insurance, whether you get it through your employer or you buy it on your own. that's been true every year for
decades. but so far those premiums have risen more slowly since the affordable care act passed than at any time in the past 50 years. it's also true that despite this law, millions of americans remain uncovered in part because governors in some states for political reasons have deliberately refused to expand coverage under this law. but we're going to work on them, and we'll work to get more americans covered with each passing year. and while it remains true that you'll still have to change your coverage if you graduate from college or turn 26 years old or move or switch jobs or have a child, just like you did before the affordable care act was passed, you can now go to healthcare.gov and use it year round to enroll when
circumstances in your life change. so, no, the affordable care act hasn't completely fixed or long broken health care system, but this law has made our health care system a lot better, a lot better. all told, because of this law, millions of our fellow citizens know the economic security of health insurance who didn't just a few years ago, and that's something to be proud of. regardless of your politics or your feelings about me or your feelings about this law, that's something that's good for our economy and it's good for our country, and there's no good reason to go back. let me give you a sense of what this change has meant for millions of our fellow americans. just give you a few examples. sean casey from california
always made sure to cover his family on the private market but pre-existing medical conditions meant his annual tab was over $30,000. the affordable care act changed that. see, if you have a pre-existing condition like being a cancer survivor or if you suffer chronic pain from a tough job or even if yew just been charged more for being a woman, you can no longer be charged more than anybody else. so this year the casey family's premiums will fall from over $30,000 to under $9,000. [ applause ] and i know this because sean took the time to write me a letter. these savings, he said, will almost offset the cost of our daughter's first year in college. i'm a big believer in this legislation, and it has removed
a lot of complexity and frankly fear from my life. please keep fighting for the aca. that's what sean had to say. jeanne is a bartender from pennsylvania. now, i think most folks are aware being a bartender, that's a job that usually doesn't offer health care. for years jeanne went uninsured or under insured often getting some health care through her local planned parenthood. in november she bought a plan on the marketplace. in january an illness sent her to the hospital, and because her new plan covered a c.a.t. scan she wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford, her doctor discovered she also had ovarian cancer and gave her a chance to beat it. so she wrote me a letter, too. she said, it's going to be a long tough road to kill this
cancer, but i can walk that road knowing insurance isn't an issue. i won't be refused care. i hope to send a follow-up letter in a few months saying i am free and clear of this disease, but until then i know i will be fighting just as you have been fighting for my life as a working american citizen. and after her first wellness visit under her new insurance plan, marla maureen from ft. collins, colorado, shared with me what it meant to her. after using my new insurance for the first time, you probably heard my sigh of relief from the white house. i femelt like a human being aga. i felt that i had value. that's what the affordable care act or obamacare is all about, making sure that all of us and
all our fellow citizens can count on the security of health care when we get sick. that the work and dignity of every person is acknowledged and affirmed. the newly insured like marla deserve that dignity. working americans like jeanne deserve that economic security. women, the sick, survivors, they deserve fair treatment in our health care system. all of which makes the constant politics around this law so troubling. like every major piece of legislation from social security to medicare, the law is not perfect. we've had to make adjustments along the way and the implementation, especially with the website, has had its share of problems. we know something about that.
and, yes, at sometimes this reform has been contentious and confusing, and obviously it's had its share of critics. that's part of what change looks like in a democracy. change is hard. fixing what is broken is hard. overcoming skepticism and fear of something new is hard. a lot of times folks would prefer the devil they know to the devil they don't. but this law is doing what it's supposed to do. it's working. it's helping people from coast to coast. all of which makes the links to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law or try to repeal the law without offering any plausible alternative so hard to understand. i got to admit, i don't get it. why are folks working so hard for people not to have health
insurance? why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance? many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked. there are still no death panels. armageddon has not arrived. instead, this law is helping millions of americans, and in the coming years it will help millions more. i've said before, i will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. but the debate over repealing this law is over. the affordable care act is here to stay. [ applause ]
[ applause ] and those who have based their entire political agenda on repealing it have to explain to the country why jeanne should go back to being uninsured. they should explain why sean and his family should go back to paying thousands and thousands of dollars more. they've got to explain why marla doesn't deserve to feel like she's got value. they have to explain why we should go back to the days when seniors paid more for their prescriptions or women had to pay more than men for coverage. back to the days when americans with pre-existing conditions were out of luck.
they could routinely be denied the economic security of health insurance. because that's exactly what would happen if we repeal this law. millions of people who now have health insurance would not have it. seniors who have gotten discounts on their prescription drugs would have to pay more. young people who are on their parents' plan would suddenly not have health insurance. you know, in the end history is not kind to those who would deny americans their basic economic security. nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of america's progress or our people. and that's what the affordable care act represents. as messy as it's been sometimes, as contentious as it's been sometimes, it is progress. it is making sure that we are not the only advanced country on earth that doesn't make sure
everybody has basic health care. and that's thanks in part to leaders like nancy pelosi and dick durbin and all the members of congress who are here today. we could not have done it without them, and they should be proud of what they've done. they should be proud of what they've done. [ applause ] and it's also thanks to the often unheralded work of countless americans who fought tirelessly to pass this law and who organized like crazy these past few months to help their fellow citizens just get the information they needed to get covered. that's why we're here today. that's why 7.1 million folks have health insurance because people got the word out.
we didn't make a hard sell. we didn't have billions of dollars of commercials like some critics did. but what we said was, look for yourself. see if it's good for your family. and a whole lot of people decided it was. so i want to thank everybody who worked so hard to make sure that we arrived at this point today. now, i want to make sure everybody understands, in the months, years ahead, i guarantee you there will be additional challenges to implementing this law. there will be days when the website stumbles. i guarantee it. so press -- i want you to anticipate, there will be some moment when the website is down,
and i know it will be on all your front pages, it's going to happen. it won't be news. there will be parts of the law that will still need to be improved, and if we can stop refighting old political battles that keep us gridlocked, then we could actually make the law work even better for everybody and we're excited about the prospect of doing that. we are game to do it. but today should remind us that the goal we set for ourselves, that no american should go without the health care that they need, that no family should be bankrupt because somebody in that family gets sick, because no parent should have to be worried about whether they can afford treatment because they're worried they don't want to have to burden their children, the
idea that everybody in this country can get decent health care, that goal is achievable. we are on our way, and if all of us have the courage and the wisdom to keep working, not against one another, not to scare each other, but for one another, then we won't just make progress on health care. we'll make progress on all the other work that remains to create new opportunity for everybody who works for it. and to make sure that this country that we love lives up to its highest ideals. that's what today is about. that's what all the days that come as long as i'm president is are going to be about. that's what we're working towards. thank you, everybody. good bless america. thank you.
>> that's president obama extolling the fact that about 7.1 million people, as he said, have signed up for the affordable care act, otherwise known as obamacare. let's get some reaction from our own john harwood in washington. john, this does not appear to be an april fools' joke. >> not at all, kelly. you saw an interesting combination of emotions from the president. on the one hand he and his aides and congressional delegates were happier than i have seen them since the night he won re-election but he also let loose his exasperation at his critics who are trying to deny people health care. the bottom line is he was able to say the debate over repealing this law is over. and that i think is the significance of what happened last night. by getting to 7.1 million enr l enrollees once you have the federal and state marketplaces, that doesn't mean they've resolved all the questions about the financial viability of the exchanges, but the odds that they will viable in the end, that they will remain part of american life for a long time
have gone up, kelly. >> john harwood, thanks very much. so is the debate over? let's bring in congressman morgan griffith from the house energy and commerce committee. he was just inside the gm committee. while we have you we want your thoughts on what you heard from the president because you have been pushing to repeal this legislation. >> absolutely, and what the president said today is not accurate. he said it's working as planned. people are not seeing -- the average family is not seeing a $2,500 reduction. you can't keep your doctor, you can't keep your health insurance that you liked if you wanted to. the president has made all kinds of promises and he's even by his own admission, he's had to delay the deadlines that were put in there for when people would get the insurance, the individual mandate is there but that's been pushed off a little bit. the employer mandate has been pushed off quite a long time. what you have is you have half of the promises they think may be true, we don't know for sure yet until we saw all the numbers, but in reality they can't keep most of the promises that obamacare promised and that
obama promised. you can't trust him to keep the promises in the past. you can't trust him to keep the promises in the future. >> a lot of promises, congressman. let's go back, if you don't mind, and address what you just heard from general motors ceo mary barra. i'm curious if you feel like she has responsibly answered the questions that stand before this company as they deal with some pretty serious oversights it appears in the past. >> i think she's trying to do a good job of figuring out what actually happened in here company but clearly we don't have all the answers yet. we need to know what happened in 2006 when they made the change to the part and why they didn't notify the public there was a change and why they kept the same part number. that implies somebody was intentionally trying to hide that the old part had a serious defect and a problem and then you get all kinds of questions that come from that as to why that was being done, what impact should that have had on their bankruptcy, what impact would it have had on people who were lending them money in 2006 and
ultimately what impact would it have had on the federal government if they had known about this serious problem when they decided to bail out gm. >> would you, congressman, tell your child not to drive a gm car? >> it looks like this problem was just in the small cars, but i certainly would be very, very concerned if i had a child who was looking at buying a small car from gm at this point. hopefully in a few months they will have it all worked out and we'll have answers. gm is overall a good company. i wouldn't say ban them forever but certainly right now if i had a child driving one of those cars, i would park it. >> would you let them invest in the stock market? >> not in gm stock right now. be a few weeks, maybe months before i think it stabilizes. >> just to be clear i meant with regard to whether the u.s. stock market is rigged? there's a lot of issues about trust we've been covering on this network, congressman, all day and that is just one of them. >> well, i think that certainly you have to look at each individual company to make that decision. i don't know that you can paint all companies with the same brush or paint all companies
that trade on the stock market with the same brush. so we'd have to look at each individual company. >> fair enough. i know we've thrown a lot at you. thank you for sticking around with us on these important debates. that's congressman morgan griffith of virginia. we'll let you go now. stick around, we have much more ahead on this record market close. we'll talk about which companies led the way. gm did sit this one out. we'll be right back. customizable charts, powerful screening tools,
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welcome back. want to return to capitol hill after mary barra testifying earlier before this congressional hearing. the acting head of the national highway traffic safety administration, nhtsa, david freedman, is now testifying on capitol hill. let's listen in. >> our employees go to work every day trying to prevent tragedies just like these. our work reducing dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, improving the safety of vehicles, and addressing safety defects has helped reduce highway fatalities to historic lows not seen since 1950. in the case of the recently recalled general motors vehicles, we are first focusing on ensuring that general motors identifies all vehicles with a defective ignition switch, fixes the vehicles quickly, and is doing all it can to inform consumers on how to keep themselves safe. we are also investigating whether general motors met its
responsibilities to report and address this defect as required under federal law. if it failed to do so, we will hold general motors accountable as we have in other cases over the last five years which have led to record fines on automakers. internally at nhtsa and the department, we have already begun a review of our actions and assumptions in this case to further our ability to address potential defects. today i will share what i have learned so far. nhtsa used consumer complaints and early warning data, three special crash investigations on the cobalt, industry websites, and agency expertise on air bag technology. some of that information did raise concerns about air bag nondeployments, so in 2007 we convened an expert panel to review the data. our consumer complaint data on injury crash was air bag nondeployments showed that neither the cobalt nor the ion
stood out when compared to other vehicles. the two special crash investigation reports we reviewed at the time were inconclusive on the cause of nondeployment. the reports noted that the air bags did not deploy and the power mode was in accessory, but these crashes involved unbelted occupants and off-road conditions that began with relatively small collisions where by design air bags are less likely to deploy in order to avoid doing more harm than good. further, power loss is not uncommon in crashes where air bags deploy and did not stand out as a reason for nondeployment. in light of these factors, nhtsa did not launch a formal investigation. we continued monitoring the data, and in 2010 we found that the related consumer complaint rate for the cobalt had decreased by nearly half since the 2007 review. based on our engineering
expertise and our process, the data available to nhtsa at the time was not sufficient to warrant a formal investigation. so what does all this mean? it means that nhtsa was concerned and engaged on this issue. this was a difficult case where we used tools and expertise that over the last decade have successfully resulted in 1,299 recalls, including 35 recalls on air bag nondeployments. these tools and expertise have served us well, and we will continue to rely on and improve them. for example, we have already invested in advanced computer tools to improve our ability to spot defects and trends and we are planning to expand that effort. but what we know now also means that we need to challenge our assumptions. we need to look at how we handle difficult cases like this going forward. so we're looking to better understand how manufacturers deal with power loss and air bags.
we are also considering ways to improve the use of crash investigations in identifying defects. we are reviewing ways to address what appear to be remote defect possibilities, and we are evaluating our approach to engaging manufacturers in all stages of our defects process. between these efforts and those of the department's inspector general, i know we will continue to improve our ability to identify vehicle defects and ensure that they are fixed. but i want to close on one last important note. our ability to find defects also requires automakers to act in good faith and to provide information on time. general motors has now provided new information definitively linking air bag nondeployment to faulty ignition switches. identifying a parts change and indicating potentially critical supplier conversations on air bags. had this information been available earlier, it would have likely changed nhtsa's approach to this issue. but let me be clear, both nhtsa
and the auto industry as a whole must look to improve. mr. chairman, ranking member, i greatly appreciate the opportunity to testify before you. >> i recognize myself for five minutes. mr. friedman, with the understanding you just got in that position a couple months ago and for the last 12 years you were in groups that focused on green cell technology, we understand you're not comfortable with automobile engineering and safety, you're more than welcome to ask some of the support staff behind you. i wanted to find out how nhtsa is communicating to the public about this recall. and i believe we have a poster here. i went to your website to see what i could learn, and dot we have that image available? and what it shows, this is all. this is all i could find on your one site about the recall notice. no information about the broader
recalls, about parts replacement, investigation, or anything. i can't even click on this. it simply says get rid of your car key fobs but there's nothing else that a person could do. can you fix this can you fix this website so people can get more useful information, please? >> congressman, if there's added information that should be on there to make sure that people can get to the information available on our website we'll take those steps. right now consumers can go to our website and get all of the details associated with this recall if they go to that search button and select the 2005 cobalt. >> to make it easier -- >> right there, sir, absolutely. >> in 2007 the chief of nhtsa's decision proposed opening an investigation of air bag nondeployments in chevy cobalts. am i correct about that date? >> yes. if you turn to tab 19 in your binder it's labeled as the dad panel for november 15, 2007.
this is the power point presentation made to the assessment panel on november 15th. at bate stamp 4474, the presentation states that there have been 29 complaints about the cobalt air bags, four fatal crash and builders ports. >> we are going to break out of this hearing in order to bring you a looming news conference by gm ceo mary barra. let's listen in. >> we are doing everything we can to make sure we provide the greatest support possible to our customers as it relates to communicating to them. we have a dedicated website. we put more than 100 people in our customer call center to answer their questions. we've communicated broadly that the vehicle is safe to drive based on our engineering testing if you have the key or the ring and also if someone is uncomfortable we are providing rentals free of charge. we want to learn as much as we can from this situation.
it's tragic but if we can learn and make a better process, that's our goal. we've hired anton delucas to do that. there are no holds barred in the investigation that he does and we will hold ourselves accountable. finally, we will be transparent as we learn anything that we can bring forward that is going to improve the safety of our vehicles and make the whole industry better, we will definitely make sure of those things and we will be transparent. >> a moment there when congressman barton said that what you were describing, he didn't seem to be getting the information that he needed. you say you want to be transparent. that doesn't sound like you made much head way in there when the congressman is saying that the former chair of the committee is saying that's not true. >> i think people, there's very technical engineering terms. i think the important thing for people to understand is we're going to make sure all of the parts and subsystem on our vehicle and the entire vehicle is safe, meeting its performance, meeting all the aspects that are important.
that's what's important. we are holding ourselves accountable to make sure our vehicle is as safe as possible and we have an unyielding standard. there are very specific things that relate from an engineering specification term that i think was misunderstood. poppy harlow, thank you for taking the time. you met with family members that lost loved ones yesterday. i'm wondering what you have heard from them and what you have said to them in response. >> this was a meeting that they asked for to get closure. i met with them and we agreed to keep the meeting private so i need to respect their wishes. >> let me follow that up with one more question since you can't answer that. when you look back to 2005 gm was starting to struggle financially. it was at junk bond status and some were speculating that you believe that played into the decision not to order the recall when you knew there was an issue. do you believe that the financial state of gm back then was a contributing factor? >> we've hired anton delucas to
do a complete investigation. we will moving into a cull tour focused on the consumer and high quality and safety and that's my direction and that's what we are doing today. >> don't families and consumers deserve more specific answers from you today? there were many questions that you could not respond to. don't they need more now from you? >> as soon as i have the information -- that's why we've lounged an internal investigation. remember, we are looking at something that happened over more than a decade. it's a very complexion information and we won't sacrifice accuracy for speed. when we have that information we will share with the regulators, the legislators, with the customers. >> could you have said more today? >> i could not. >> you said you learned of the defect and you were head of quality back in 2011 and before that head of engineering. how could you have not been aware of the defect and if you weren't, are there other defects
you're not aware of? >> i became aware of an issue that was being examined. i didn't know of the specific issue in late december of 2013. i became aware of this specific incident on january 31st after the recall team made this decision. we can provide that off line so you get the right time line of my quality. when decisions are made there's a technical team that makes the analysis of a situation and in the past it has specifically not been covered with senior leaders. it was done at a technical level so there was no influence. however, that was when the company had more of a cost culture than what i would say is focused around safety. going forward any incidents will be reviewed with mark royce, our executive vice president of
global purchasing and that's a change we've already met. >> was customer safety not a priority before? >> again, i know what i'm focused on today. i can't speak to -- >> go ahead. >> you've been with the company for over 30 years yet you claim that never once did this ever cross your desk in the last decade. what do you say to the families? how do you explain that to them? >> again, there's a specific group that goes through and looks at when there's an incident, a team that then brings it to the cross functional group and then goes to a technical team that makes that decision. i was never a part of that process on this issue. >> does it anger you that a month into your job you're now having to clean up this mess? >> it anchors me that we had a situation that took over a decade to correct and i am working day and night to make sure that we correct this issue. we've learned from it and it never happens again and i will work day and night to make that happen. >> following up on that team that investigated, let me follow
up on that. jim federico, a man who worked closely with you, who you promoted, who headed this investigation for more than a year, he was in charge of this. how did you not know about it then? and if you didn't, what does that say about communication? >> again, the way the process was worked, it kept the technical team working on that and those issues that weren't covered. we changed that now and i'm telling you the truth. >> never talked to you about this? >> no, he did not. >> you said the old culture at general motors is i don't know and that has changed. today you gave us a bunch of i don't knows and didn't read the documents. what does that say about your ability and this team's ability into the future? >> again, we are doing a complete investigation with tony delucas. there was a document production done over a very short period of time. we want on independent person. that's what tony brings to the company and he is going to do a complete investigation and that's what i am looking for across the organization. >> they should have confidence
in you? >> yes, they should. >> going forward, what kind of latitude are you going to give ken fineberg? >> he's an expert in this area and we are going to have our first meeting with him on friday. we are going to examine a wide range of opportunities and leverage his expertise. i will share and be transparent with those items that are appropriate to share. everything that's appropriate to share, everything that's related to consumer safety and related to the customer. >> in written format? >> that has not been determined. >> that's it. thanks, mary. thanks, guys. >> that was general motors ceo mary barra. she has given testimony to the house today. in the meantime, those speakers to reporters, taking questions after that with only a short
period of time. i want to get some reaction from the panel. >> the transparency and conviction that she's functioning with make me want to buy her stock today. it happened ten years ago. i have a lot more confidence than i did an hour ago. >> very forthcoming. >> lee doesn't own the stock. >> neither does the congressman. >> i think this is all the more reason -- just take a step back for investors out there. this is a reason why global portfolios should be in passive index funds so you can avoid those type of things. >> gm is in most index funds. >> yes, it is but i think this is a case why it gets hairy when you try to may individual bets an individual stocks. >> sharon? >> invest in people, buy this stock. >> this ceo really did seem to be very forthcoming in her responding to reporters' questions as well as in her testimony. it will be interesting to see what she does from here and whether she follows through with the promises that she's made.
>> got to go. a lot of news to cover this hour. let's hand it over to "fast money" with melissa lee. >> we are trading this news and of course we're going to continue to follow the testimony on capitol hill at this. thanks for that. "fast money" starts right now. live from the nasdaq market site we start with the breaking news out of washington, gm ceo mary barra apologizing tonight. did we get the moment that we wanted that investors needed in terms of gm putting it all out on the table and investors saying this is the worst? >> no, we haven't, but we've gotten a bunch of things that can at least begin to allow us to quantify. we think there's going to be a lot of overhang in terms of news flow in this company. look at the sales numbers, the market now, i have to look forward. they're not going to put this company out of business or not even close of one percent is probably where this fine is go