WASHINGTON, April 21 U.S. Treasury Secretary
Jack Lew will visit bankrupt Detroit this week to highlight the
Obama administration's "continued commitment to the city's
revitalization and explore ways to promote job creation and
economic growth," according to an advisory his department
released on Monday.
Lew will meet with leaders from philanthropic foundations on
Thursday to discuss economic development in the city that filed
for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last July.
Then on Friday, he will tour a metal stamping business to
promote his department's small business credit initiative.
In a draft of its plan for restructuring $18 billion in debt
and other obligations released last week, Detroit outlined how
it will tap philanthropies for $816 million to cover pension
costs and avoid selling pieces from the Detroit Institute of
President Barack Obama has not pledged direct funds to the
Motor City, but his administration and Congress are using
existing federal programs to provide aid. Last week, local media
reported the state of Michigan would send the city $100 million
for blight removal from a federal fund designed to help states
cope with the foreclosure crisis. That, in turn, would free up
money to ease pension cuts for retirees.
"We continue to provide technical advice to the city and
state on a range of topics, including efforts to leverage
existing federal funding sources for blight elimination," said a
White House official. "As we've said, there is no bailout coming
from Washington, but we continue to support the efforts by state
and local officials as they work on Detroit's revitalization."
The assistance comes as Detroit zeroes in on formulating a
final restructuring plan that can win approval from Bankruptcy
Judge Steven Rhodes.
"I have urged President Obama to examine all options for
executive action to help the city of Detroit overcome its fiscal
challenges, and I am pleased that he is seeking to take positive
action," said Representative John Conyers, a Democrat from
Michigan. "I will be discussing further legislative options with
my colleagues in Congress."
(Reporting By Lisa Lambert; Editing by Tom Brown)