GOP Rep. Issa: Congress Will Hold Toyota, Transportation Department Accountable

Feb 19, 2010 2:27pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Next week's congressional hearing on Toyota's safety recalls is getting a surprise dose of star power, with the decision by Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda to reverse course and announce he will appear in person. On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Toyoda realized there was no effective way to repair his company’s image unless he chose to appear. “I think I resonate on Japanese television,” said Issa, R-Calif. “The Japanese television stations have come to my district — they’ve gotten me both here and there. Wherever I am, they’re interested and they see that in fact the Lee Iacocca of Japan is going to have to be Akio Toyoda. Not because the company’s products are bad, but because the most important thing they had — which was quality and safety — is now in question.” “He needs to change [the message] to, ‘We will change, we’ve done wrong, we will do it right.’ And only he can do it, and an underling was not going to accomplish that. And I believe quite candidly the open television that was going on in Japan caused him to realize that the Japanese needed him to do that on their behalf, rather than send an underling to a congressional inquiry. That was not going to change the tone. ” The US Department of Transportation will also undergo scrutiny, Issa said: “As a matter of fact the [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration being] without an administrator and clearly not having made any changes in the last decade, decade and a half is so far behind the power curve of gathering data in a modern age, around the world, coalescing it and coming up with their own opinion. “Clearly, it’s an agency that needs to do an about face. It’s the reason that we’re going to have [Transportation] Secretary [Ray] LaHood before us, and we’re going to talk about what is his vision for that agency becoming a global world agency able to see problems.” Some of the blame lies with the Bush administration, Issa said. “You can’t say that President Bush did something wrong in his eight years. What you can say is nothing new and different and innovative and better happened during those eight years, or during this last year. And a decade has gone by that was wasted.” Watch the full segment with Rep. Darrell Issa HERE.  

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