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House pushes for data about GM defect

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 6:54 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Congress' investigation of a deadly defect in some General Motors cars widened on Tuesday, and a House committee ordered the automaker and a federal regulator to provide details on steps they took to get unsafe cars off the road.

In another development, federal prosecutors in New York are examining whether GM is criminally liable for failing to properly disclose the defect, according to a source familiar with that investigation.

The malfunction, which first came to light a decade ago and involves more than 1.6 million GM vehicles, has been linked to 13 deaths and prompted a recent recall by the automaker. The defect, a problem with the ignition switch in some GM cars, could cause cars to stall, airbags to fail and other problems while moving at high speeds.

The supplier of the ignition switch, Delphi Automotive Plc, said on Tuesday that the part had not been provided to any other automaker.

The congressional inquiry expanded to the Senate as Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller moved to launch hearings.

In the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to GM CEO Mary Barra and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman seeking information on their responses to consumers' complaints about the problem. They set a deadline of March 25 for the information.

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