WASHINGTON - Today Senator Kerry 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 American Small Business Relief and Recovery Act of 2001 was introduced over seven weeks ago and still, three months after September 11th, awaits consideration by the Senate- hindered only by the two Republican holds. As each day passes, more and more small businesses are left behind, facing financial hardships that are forcing them to close their doors as a result of inadequate disaster assistance, stifled availability of loans, and limited access to capital.

"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% of our country's businesses, 50% of our jobs. 60 Senators say we can do something to help - the stubborn resistance of a tiny minority shouldn't stand in the way.

"The Small Business Emergency Relief and Recovery Act of 2001 has the backing of 60 Senators and hundreds of supporters in the small business community who all agree 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.

"Not only is this legislation critical, it is 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 59 cosponsors 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."