Senate Committee Likely to OK Strickling as NTIA Head, Chopra as CTO on May 20

With little questioning or controversy, the Senate Commerce Committee appeared poised ready after a Tuesday hearing to submit to the full Senate for confirmation the nominations of two key technology officials in the Obama administration. A vote on the nominees is slated for May 20. Lawrence Strickling has been nominated to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications and Information, and head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. As head of the Commerce Department agency responsible for the bulk of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus, Strickling would be poised to play a key role in the administration's de facto broadband policy. Of the total, $4.7 billion will run through Commerce, and $2.5 billion through the Agriculture Department. The program is designed to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved American communities. NTIA is also responsible for the nation's final transition to digital television. Aneesh Chopra has been nominated to be the nation's first Chief Technology Officer. Sen Mark Warner (D-VA) had a great deal of praise for Chopra, who currently serves as Virginia Secretary of Technology, a position in which Sen Warner said Chopra has "performed admirably." Warner and Chopra recently served as co-chairs of Virginia's Broadband Roundtable, which Sen Warner called "an effort to expand rural broadband access so that no region would be left behind in a global economy."



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