WASHINGTON - Senator John F. Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today announced that the Senate has passed his bill, The American Small Business Emergency Relief and Recovery Act of 2002. Senate passage comes nearly six months since introduction of the "emergency" legislation to provide a lifeline to small businesses reeling from the devastating economic affects of September 11th.

"This is a victory today for America's small businesses. We are one step closer to delivering real economic relief to businesses devastated by the economic fall-out of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Small businesses are starving for the loans and credit to keep them on their feet during these tough times, and we need to deliver for them so the engine of the American economy does not become the latest collateral damage of the attacks on our nation. This legislative victory for small businesses was too long in coming. Partisan games have already delayed for too long our bipartisan efforts to put relief in the hands of small businesses, and I hope this breakthrough in the Senate will be a catalyst that moves our small business agenda forward once and for all. Businesses and their employees need help -- and they need it now.

"Today, I thank the 63 Senators who supported my effort to pass this legislation, the countless small businesses and small business advocates who rallied in support of this bill, and I look forward to swift passage of this legislation in the House of Representatives."