Lew suggests no Detroit federal bailout

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in an interview Sunday that Detroit will have to deal with its creditors as it seeks to emerge from bankruptcy -- a suggestion that a federal bailout isn't in the offing.

Melina Mara/The Washington Post
Melina Mara/The Washington Post

"Detroit has serious challenges. We support Detroit in its efforts. But Detroit's going to have to work with its creditors," Lew said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Pressed directly on whether there would be a bailout, Lew didn't directly say no, but repeated that it would have to deal with its creditors and that the federal government would help through it's "normal federal programs."

Lew offered a similar statement in a separate appearance on ABC's "This Week." He emphasized that the federal government can help in other ways besides a bailout.

"To the extent that there are kind of normal relations between the federal government and state and local government, we’ve been using those methods," he said.

Asked on CNN about why the government wouldn't bail out Detroit after it bailed out the banks and the auto industry, Lew noted that the bank bailout happened at a time when the entire U.S. economy was at stake.

"The situation in 2009, 2010 was unique, and it's something that hopefully we never see again," Lew said.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | July 28, 2013