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House lawmakers told the GSA to stop selling recalled cars

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House lawmakers told the GSA to stop selling recalled cars

WATCH:  Lawmakers call for GSA to stop selling recalled cars as House Oversight Committee begins investigation

Following the launch of a House Oversight Committee investigation, a group of House lawmakers is calling on the General Services Administration to stop selling cars with open recalls. The move comes after a Circa investigation discovered the GSA selling  hundreds of cars with open recalls to people across the country. The story also raised questions about whether federal employees have been driving cars with open recalls that haven't been fixed.

The lawmakers' letter follows one sent by the House Oversight Committee to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth.

The committee's letter, which opens with mention of the Takata airbag recall, asks the GSA to turn over information about its fleet by Nov. 3.  It says, "We have a number of questions and concerns about vehicles in the federal fleet that are subject to these and other types of safety recalls."

A separate group of House lawmakers called on the agency to stop selling cars with open recalls.  Reps. Schakowsky, Pallone,  Butterfield and Capps wrote a letter, saying Americans expect their government will look out for their safety. The group asks the GSA to only auction vehicles once safety issues have been resolved and take immediate action to reduce the number of cars in the federal fleet with open recalls.

The group calls the agency's sale of recalled vehicles "troubling", considering the GSA has a system to check its cars for recalls.

Read the letter sent to the GSA by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Frank Pallone, G.K. Butterfield and Lois Capps.

No federal agency should use or sell cars that are unsafe. The GSA should lead by example by fixing all actionable recalls.
Reps. Schakowsky, Pallone, Butterfield and Capps

Circa's investigation also found some vehicles with service tags that indicated they may have been driven for months or years after a recall. The committee's letter said, "We believe that no federal employees should be driving vehicles that are subject to recalls that could place employees or others at risk."

The committee requested the GSA provide a list of all vehicles in its fleet subject to recalls as well as the maintenance history dating back to 2014. The group also asked for letters used to notify leasing agencies about open recalls.

House lawmakers told the GSA to stop selling recalled cars

WATCH  | The GSA selling cars with potentially dangerous open recalls

The House Oversight Committee also asked the GSA to weigh in on whether repairs should be required before a federal vehicle is sold or auctioned to the public.  Right now, it's perfectly legal to sell a used car with an open recall.

But the committee points out making the repair would be consistent with statements made by the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which issues recalls. Mark Rosekind has said, "We cannot allow vehicles with potentially dangerous defects to leave used-car lots without the necessary repairs."

The GSA says it has received the letters and is working on its response.  In a statement, the agency said it has a robust program for recalls.  When it comes to federal employees potentially driving a recalled car, the agency said that if a "stop-drive" order is issued, "GSA takes immediate action to ensure that the safety of government personnel is protected and that vehicle is removed from use until repaired."

A 2014 study from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers found 6 percent of recalls come with "Do not drive" warnings.

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When it comes to the sale of recalled cars to the public, the GSA said in a statement that of the 37,486 cars it sold in FY16, 98 percent did not have any open safety recalls that were actionable.

The agency's spokesperson said, "GSA and NHTSA are working together to explore options to effectively enhance current practices and minimize the number of vehicles with open recalls in the federal fleet.

For more on this issue, check out Circa's three-part investigation:


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