WASHINGTON -- Today Sen. Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, again took his message to the Senate floor: end the partisan choke hold on economic relief for small businesses.

Kerry has pledged to return to the Senate floor every day to force the issue until partisan games are put aside and economic relief is delivered to small businesses through the Kerry-Bond American Small Business Relief and Recovery Act of 2001, currently being delayed by two Republican Senators. Highlighting hundreds of supporters -- businesses, associations and cosponsors -- of this comprehensive economic relief for small businesses, Senator Kerry argued that bipartisan answers for small businesses hurting in America must not be held hostage to a narrow partisan agenda.

"The key word here is emergency. Small businesses need help now -- they have needed this help since the terrorist attacks three months ago today. For reasons beyond my understanding, two of my colleagues in the Senate do not see small businesses as an urgent concern. They have played games with the livelihoods of entrepreneurs and their employees all across the country by putting holds on and therefore blocking passage of this crucial legislation."

"I am aware and have tried to address the concerns of those opposed to this legislation, but it is a moving target. One day it is too expensive, the next they say they plan to remove the hold but the papers are in the quarantined Hart Senate Office Building. Senator Kyl has personally stated that the bill "costs too much." I would like to ask him a simple question: compared to what? To the $15 billion given to the airlines? Compared to the $4.75 billion that Senator Kyl proposes to provide tax credits for airplane travel? I have news for Senator Kyl. It is estimated that the unemployment rate will peak at 7% next year. If people are not getting a paycheck, then they will not be traveling. The reality is as simple as that."

"This bill does not cost too much. This bill is not duplicative of what the Administration has already put in place. This bill does not encourage defaults or help big business. This bill does not cut out the private sector and this bill has not been rushed through the Senate. On the contrary, this bill is projected to cost $860 million, a low amount considering it will provide more than $25 billion in loans and venture capital to small businesses."

"It took the Senate a week to provide billions in a bail-out to the ailing airline industry and I voted for it because it was critical to keep the airlines up and running. Now some are working fast and furiously to provide relief to the insurance industry and the House took just days to pass billions upon billions in giveaways to some of the largest, wealthiest, most heavily subsidized corporations and oil and gas companies in America. Why would Congress stall as thousands of small businesses gasp for relief while trying to fend off bankruptcy? "

The survival of small business must be a top priority. We must save 95 percent of our country's businesses, 50 percent of our jobs. Sixty-two senators say we can do something to help -- the stubborn resistance of a tiny minority shouldn't stand in the way. 62 senators and hundreds of supporters in the small business community agree that this legislation will mitigate bankruptcies, closures and layoffs. It will help our country's businesses weather an economic storm that may not end in a few weeks, or even a few months.

"We have nearly eight days before we adjourn for the holidays - time is of the essence. This legislation is a critical and a cost-effective way to provide necessary capital to our country's hard working small businesses. From the United States Chamber of Commerce to the League of Cities, and 62 co- sponsors from both sides of the aisle, America agrees that this is critical relief for small businesses.

It is not the time to use backdoor tactics to deny the Senate the ability to deliver this critical emergency aid. I'm asking my Republican colleagues to stop obstructing this legislation and pass this legislation today."