CQ (12/12, Tully) reported Sen. John Kerry "declared his intention on Wednesday to block action on all of President Bush's nominations." Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, "said he was responding to a 'hold' that Arizona Republican Jon Kyl placed on his bill (S 1499) to make emergency Small Business Administration (SBA) loans available to companies that suffered because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Arlington, Va." In response, Kyl "criticized both Kerry's action and his bill, but by the end of the day backed away from his hold." Kyl said, "I don't have a hold on the Senator's bill." CQ added Kerry "and a source close to Kyl said the Arizona Republican had earlier put a hold on the bill." One thing that "didn't change was Kyl's opposition to the bill, which he said would spend too much money on medium- and large-sized businesses." Kyl also said "it is not needed because the administration is capable of achieving many of the bill's goals without legislative action."

The AP (12/12, Robinson) reported, "With time running out in the congressional session, Sen. John Kerry is trying to force Senate action on major small business bill by threatening to block Senate consideration of dozens of White House nominations to federal office." In a letter to Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Kerry wrote, "I am prepared to keep this hold in place until the Senate considers our bill." The AP added Kerry "wrote the small business bill with Sen. Kit Bond, said by his aides to be circulating a new draft of the legislation in hopes of finding a compromise. GOP opposition apparently stands in the way of the measure." Kerry's action "could affect dozens of pending nominations for commissioner, acting secretary and other slots at the federal agencies -- but not federal judges." Kerry said he is "not blocking consideration of judicial nominations because he doesn't want to interfere with law enforcement." By "blocking the other nominations, Kerry, the Small Business Committee chairman, is trying to force at least eight Republican senators to lift the anonymous 'holds' they have slapped on an $860 million bill to provide loans and venture capital to small businesses that have suffered financially since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."