WASHINGTON -- In his ongoing effort to pass the bipartisan Kerry-Bond emergency economic relief for small businesses, Sen. John Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, wrote to Majority Leader Daschle and informed him of his intent to place a hold on all non-judicial executive nominations. Senator Kerry has pledged to continue to pressure Senate Republicans and the White House to respond 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, supported by 63 Senators. Highlighting hundreds of supporters -- businesses, associations and cosponsors -- of this comprehensive economic relief for small businesses, Senator Kerry continued to argue that bipartisan answers for small businesses hurting in America must not be held hostage to a narrow partisan agenda.

Attached is a copy of Chairman Kerry's letter to Majority Leader Daschle


Dear Mr. Leader:

As you know, Senator Bond and I have introduced and are trying to gain Senate passage of S. 1499, the "American Small Business Emergency Relief and Recovery Act of 2001." This legislation, supported by 63 Senators, would provide emergency and immediate financial assistance to small businesses around the country who are suffering tremendous financial loss following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. More specifically, the bill would leverage $860 million in federal dollars to make available $25 billion in loans and venture capital to ailing small businesses. The bill has widespread support in the business community, and is endorsed by 36 groups concerned with the financial health of small businesses including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National League of Cities, the US Conference of Mayors and the National Restaurant Association.

Despite the widespread and bipartisan support for this legislation, Senator Kyl continues to block its consideration by the Senate. Yesterday, Senator Kyl noted his concerns are based in large part on objections raised by the Administration. Senator Bond and I have attempted to negotiate with Senator Kyl and the Administration so that an agreement could be reached to move this legislation. However, it has become increasingly clear that Senator Kyl and the Administration are not interested in negotiating our differences. Rather, they are interested in delaying consideration of this important relief interminably -- "running out the legislative clock" at the expense of the thousands of small businesses who are finding it more and more difficult to keep their doors open without the relief they so desperately need in these difficult economic times.

For this reason, and regrettably, I have come to the conclusion that, having tried to negotiate in good faith, my only remaining option is to demonstrate, conclusively, that under no circumstances will we back away from our commitment to small businesses. To bring Sen. Kyl and the Administration back to the negotiating table in earnest, I would like to place a hold on all non-judicial executive nominations that may come before the Senate. It is my hope that this hold will be short-lived, as it will lead to more serious negotiations and ultimately Senate consideration of S. 1499. However, I am prepared to keep this hold in place until the Senate considers our bill. A simple yes or no vote on this important relief for small businesses is not too much to ask, and I hope that our Republican colleagues in the Senate will at long last allow us the opportunity to make good on our promise to help struggling businesses nationwide.

Thank you for your prompt attention this matter.


John F. Kerry