(CNN) - The Obama administration is looking closely at the bankruptcy of Detroit, but there is no indication yet that it might intervene.
Vice President Joe Biden, asked about it by a reporter on Friday, said the matter was being reviewed but less clear was whether action would follow.
"Can we help Detroit? We are now going through in exactly in detail. We had a meeting yesterday just getting a brief on the status. The question is we don't know at this point," Biden said.
It's unclear what the steps the government would or could take to address the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Once an American economic powerhouse, Detroit has for years borrowed heavily to pay its bills while its population - along with its tax base - sharply declined.
Key issues now involve the potential impact of insolvency on pension benefits for city workers and retirees as well as essential public services.
In addition, there is the question of whether a bankrupt major U.S. city could hurt the ability of other communities to borrow money for capital projects through the municipal bond market.
The federal government intervened with loan financing to prevent New York City's bankruptcy in the 1970s.
The Bush and Obama administrations approved government grants and loans as part of a bailout of Detroit automakers General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.
Those were private companies that also restructured in bankruptcy, shedding assets and jobs but eventually returning to profitability.
President Barack Obama trumpeted the auto industry's resurgence during his re-election campaign.