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Aneesh Chopra's Not-So-Grueling Day on Capitol Hill

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, May 20 2009

NextGov's Aliya Sternstein has really been doing some tremendous reporting about the nitty-gritty of the DC tech and policy scene. In her latest report, Sternstein tells of a rather airy Senate confirmation hearing for incoming U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. Chopra, who will head up the White House's portfolio on using technology to drive American innovation in the years ahead got one -- one -- substantive question on what he plans to do once in office. How might telemedicine benefit us?, asked Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar. It will create jobs and lower the cost of health care, answered Chopra.

Good enough!

No questions for Chopra, reports Sternstein, about the more contentious aspects of tech policy implementation. Not a question on topics like the electric grid or patent reform or electronic health records -- the last of which was earmarked in the stimulus package for $20 billion in federal spending. (The Wall Street Journal's Amy Schatz backs up Sternstein's account of the breezy hearing.)

Sternstein: "The ambivalence signals, perhaps, a misunderstanding of the position or, worse, indifference about the role."