Obama Awards Detroit $300M After Union Meeting

Alicé Leuchte | September 28, 2013

Two weeks ago, CBS Detroit reported on union leaders’ pilgrimage to Washington DC to seek financial help in the face of the city’s bankruptcy.  While the focus of the union leaders was described as surrounding pensions and education, the article also gave vague mention to another meeting that took place before Labor Day:

The meeting with union leaders follows a gathering before Labor Day between White House officials and high-ranking members of Detroit’s business leadership where Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert and others discussed how the city can maximize existing federal help through grants and other programs.

According to the article, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had already determined that Detroit would be on their own to clean up the mess, implying the union pleas to ‘Big Brother’ would be fruitless.

Well, the Detroit Free Press has just reported that the Federal Government has determined it will issue $300 million to help the city recover.  Gene Sperling, the head of Obama’s National Economic Council, said that they had “found significant resources that… can be unlocked and expedited and leveraged to have significant impact on the economy of Detroit.”

Some of the funding had already been awarded to Detroit prior to this new plan, but the city had not been able to access it.  The article goes on to say that:

Sperling wasn’t immediately able to break down just how much of the $300 million represents new funding and how much had already been awarded to Detroit but, for whatever reason, hadn’t reached the city before. But he said much of it represented an effort by administration officials to scour their departments for funding that Detroit could access.

One can only speculate on the causes for this sudden change of heart.