The Chronicle of Higher Education has this article discussing the delays common to the confirmation process. It begins:
When Kenneth W. Dam, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, received word in January 2001 that he would be nominated to serve as deputy secretary of the treasury, he was delighted. A former top official in the Reagan administration, he viewed government work as "a great privilege" and was eager to begin.
But it wasn't that easy. First Mr. Dam had to fill out a bevy of forms and questionnaires from the White House Office of Government Ethics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Senate Finance Committee. At one point the White House lost his file for a week. Then came the FBI's background investigation, which took until March, and a confirmation hearing before the Finance Committee. Finally, his nomination was sent to the Senate.