"But something is better than nothing," she said. "A bailout would have been better, but if we can sustain some of our needs with grants that would be a start. Let's take it. Whatever kind of money it is to benefit the city, I'm all for it."
The Obama administration is trying to show its support without trying to send any message about a bailout, said Peter Henning, a Wayne State Law School professor.
Officials, especially those from HUD and Transportation, can commit funds for infrastructure projects, while Holder can chip in resources for fight Detroit's high violent crime rate, Henning said.
"So these are back door ways to provide federal funding and support without having to seek a bailout, which would be dead on arrival from both parties," he said. "The goal is to strengthen Detroit, but only indirectly. This is at best a muted commitment because what Detroit really needs is dollars and not just support that might be beneficial in three to five years. But any hope of that is a pipe dream."