White House press secretary Jay Carney said on July 11 that the president was "aware" of Detroit's dire financial situation, but said he was not aware of any "plans or proposals that the president has" to deal with the situation.

"Administration officials have been in contact with leaders in Detroit," Carney said.

The filing begins a court process over the next three months that will determine whether the city is eligible for bankruptcy protection and define the city's liabilities. The decision was approved by both the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

"The fiscal realities confronting Detroit have been ignored for too long. I'm making this tough decision so the people of Detroit will have the basic services they deserve and so we can start to put Detroit on a solid financial footing that will allow it to grow and prosper in the future," said Snyder in a statement. "This is a difficult step, but the only viable option to address a problem that has been six decades in the making."