BUSINESS

Families of victims rally as GM's CEO appears before Congress

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - As devastated as Laura Christian and Terry DiBattista are by the loss of their daughter, Amber Marie Rose, they're equally furious with General Motors.

General Motors' new CEO, Mary Barra, answers questions from Congress about faulty parts and delayed recalls believed to have caused 13 deaths so far. (AP Photo)

Had the airbags deployed in the Maryland teenager's Chevy Cobalt, paramedics said she would have lived.

That's why Christian and DiBattista were at Capitol Hill Tuesday, for a hearing between Congress and GM's CEO about the car manufacturer's handling of recent technical problems and subsequent recalls that many say happened too long after the problems became known.

"I hope they see that we are real humans, who lost real people and that we're not going to stand for this," Christian told ABC7.

"Look what happened - because of a two-dollar part that they didn't want to step up [and fix], we lost her," said DiBattista.

The part he spoke of is now linked to 13 deaths - and GM supposedly knew of a problem more than a decade ago, but didn't decide on a recall until recently.

"Documents provided by GM show that this unacceptable cost increase, was only 57 cents," Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said during Tuesday's hearing.

In testimony Tuesday, GM's new CEO, Mary Barra, couldn't explain why a fix was denied - she only said, she's getting to the bottom of it.

"That is something I very much want to understand and know, but once again, we're doing an investigation that spans over a decade," Barra said Tuesday.

During that decade, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration - the government's auto safety watchdog - also somehow missed the problem.

During the hearing, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Barra, "Do you think there was a cover-up, or it was sloppy work?"

"That is what I've asked [investigator] Mr. Lucas to uncover, and I'm anxiously awaiting his results," Barra responded.

Until then, the families of victims said they will keep pressing, and keep demanding answers.

"I know every one of [the victims'] loved ones up in Heaven are saying, 'go Mama, go Daddy, go sister' - and I know they're all right here with us today," DiBattista said.

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