GM CEO Mary Barra asked to keep US plants open by lawmakers

Amid harsh criticism and the threat of penalties from President Trump, General Motors CEO Mary Barra met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to discuss the company’s plans to cut jobs and slash domestic production.

Barra told reporters on Wednesday that making the decision was "incredibly difficult."

Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, the Democrat and Republican senators from Ohio who met with Barra on Wednesday, said they talked with the GM CEO about getting the company to possibly produce another product at the Ohio plant. Portman said Barra committed to maintaining "an open mind" but does not want to raise expectations.

Barra also said she is looking at opportunities across the country for affected workers.

Barra is scheduled to meet with lawmakers serving the areas where the automaker is set to shutter plants throughout the week.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan who is expected to be involved in the meetings on Thursday, said it’s important for Barra to have a “very serious” conversation with lawmakers.

“Honestly, they should be having these critical conversations more often so we can keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.,” Dingell said in a statement to FOX Business.

Last week, the automaker announced plans to slash 15 percent of its salaried workforce in North America – about 15,000 jobs – and cease production at five plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland and Ontario, drawing criticism from the president and lawmakers. GM is also eliminating several vehicle models in the U.S., including the Chevrolet Cruze and the Buick LaCrosse.

In response to the announcement, Trump threatened to eliminate subsidies to the company and impose tariffs on all auto imports.