Chopra Confirmation Hearing Scheduled

A Senate panel plans to examine on May 19 the nomination of Aneesh Chopra as the first-ever federal Chief Technology Officer, a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy official said on Tuesday.

A Senate panel plans to examine on May 19 the nomination of Aneesh Chopra as the first-ever federal Chief Technology Officer, a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy official said on Tuesday.

While the nomination is not controversial, the timing is.

Because Chopra was not named to the post until April and has not been confirmed, his hands are somewhat tied in deploying President Obama's so-called "Open Government" initiative. Government watchdogs are growing more frustrated by the day, as they wait for a CTO to issue recommendations, which Obama requested on Jan. 21, for creating a more transparent, participatory and collaborative government. Recommendations are due to Obama two days after Chopra's hearing.

Furthermore, interest groups want a chance to comment on the initiative before the recommendations become policy.

The hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation -- the first step in the confirmation process -- is scheduled for 11 a.m., said OSTP spokesman Rick Weiss.

Senate sources said they were not aware of any debate surrounding his nomination.

More than a month went by between a February hearing to examine the nomination of OSTP Director-designate John Holdren and full Senate confirmation on March 19. While that hearing garnered relatively favorable reviews, multiple senators placed anonymous holds on the nomination reportedly to protest political issues that were unrelated to Holdren.