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SULLIVAN PROCESS STILL ON TRACK - BUT A SLOW ONE

Whatever happened to President Bush's second most controversial Cabinet nominee, Dr. Louis Sullivan? Not to worry, Washington insiders say. They insist that Dr. Sullivan's nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services remains on track, although no confirmation hearings have yet been scheduled.

They insist that two oft-noted factors are still delaying confirmation. One is the fact that the nominee, a Washington neophyte, needs yet more briefing before his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

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The other is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has yet to complete its background check of Sullivan.

Checks are said to be more thorough this year than before, delaying many other appointments, too.

One irony: the troubles of the President's most controversial nominee, John Tower, may be impeding the process for Sullivan. One source insists that so many FBI agents are checking out all those Tower rumors that there are not enough left to speed up the Sullivan case.