Toyota Hearing: Darrell Issa Says the Forbidden Word

Representative Issa just asked Secretary LaHood whether our ownership stake in GM has caused the NHTSA to ease off on the level of scrutiny the company's cars are subject to.  This seems not particularly plausible--if nothing else, the timeframe's a little short for any serious regulatory capture to have developed.  But if this heralds a Republican strategy to bring up the despised automaker bailout at every opportunity, the hearing seems likely to further degenerate as Democrats start using their time to defend the bailout, rather than, I don't know, investigating the seriousness of the problems with Toyotas.


I can't say I'm particularly impressed with LaHood's performance thus far, which mostly consists of bland generalities about the wonderfulness of safety, and off-topic pleas for the power to regulate local transit systems with the same acumen that brought you . . . well, this hearing.  But to be fair, he's faced with a congress that seems mostly interested in grandstanding, so that turnabout demands that he gets to grandstand too.

The strangest part of this, actually, is the sight of a government employee demanding less funding for his agency.  One of the talking points that the Republicans seem to have settled on is that NHTSA may be understaffed; they are asking him if they can't appropriate more money for engineers and other personnel.  As a loyal member of the Obama administration, LaHood is being forced to argue that he doesn't need any more staff than the 66 new positions requested in the administration's proposed budgets.  Mark your calendars, folks; this may be a first in American history.

Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In