DETROIT — A congressional committee is investigating the way General Motors and a federal safety agency handled a deadly ignition switch problem in compact cars.

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton of Michigan says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received a large number of complaints about the problem during the past decade. But GM didn’t recall the 1.6 million cars worldwide until last month.

Upton says the committee will hold a hearing soon. He says the committee wants to know if GM or the agency missed something that could have flagged the problems sooner.

An Associated Press review of driver complaints to the agency found some dating to late 2005. GM admits it knew of the problem in 2004.