Davis bill can help New Era if passed

Published 11:33 pm Friday, December 18, 2009

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) introduced a bill Wednesday in the House of Representatives that would establish a $1 billion revolving loan fund for small and mid-sized businesses that are struggling to obtain credit in the aftermath of the recession.

If passed, the bill would offer a shot in the arm as Demopolis positions itself to help salvage New Era Cap Co.’s presence here. HR 4340, if passed, would take some of the money being paid back by the banks through TARP and set up a $1 billion revolving loan fund for businesses that employ less than 1,000 people that are in danger of closing their doors.

“New Era Cap in Demopolis would benefit from this revolving loan fund,” Davis said. “Meadowcraft in Selma might have been saved, and the Weyerhaeuser facility in Wilcox County might have been saved.

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The House is adjourned for the year, but Davis is hopeful that when they return in the second week in January, that this legislation receives significant attention.

Meadowcraft and Weyerhaeuser were forced to close their doors earlier this year due to the economic downturn, and New Era in Demopolis may receive the same fate. Negotiations with NewEra Caps are ongoing to determine whether to close the Demopolis plant or the New Era plant in Derby, N.Y.

“This has been an ongoing topic of discussion in Washington over the last several months,” Davis said Thursday.

“I think there is great frustration on the part of people in Alabama and around the country that we haven’t done more to protect jobs and create new jobs. As I move around the country and the district, I run into a number of people who say that Congress is spending a lot of time on these issues that have nothing to do with jobs. And, frankly, the Democratic leadership in Congress has not done a very good job of making the case about the linkage between any of the proposals in Washington, D.C., on climate change and health care and the creation of jobs.

“People want to see a greater focus on jobs. One major problem we’re seeing is that small businesses and mid-sized businesses can’t get loans and can’t get extensions of credit, or they’re having to renegotiate credit on very unfavorable terms. We’ve got to step up private-sector lending to small businesses, and we’ve got to step up the availability of credit to small businesses.”