Steven Mnuchin: Harriet Tubman $20 bill stalled until 2028; ‘I’m not focused’ on the redesign

May 22, 2019

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday the proposed redesign of the $20 bill, featuring American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, is being stalled until at least 2028.

The updated bill was proposed to feature more gender and racial diversity on U.S. currency and was intended to be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote.

Andrew Jackson, the country’s seventh president and a slaveowner, is featured on the current design. Tubman, born in slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, was active in the Underground Railroad and served as a nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War.

Mr. Mnuchin said during a House Financial Services Committee hearing the new security features will meet the 2020 deadline, but the bill featuring Tubman will not.

“The primary reason we have looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues. Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028. The $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features beforehand,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

Responding to Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s questions about the bill, Mr. Mnuchin said he’s “not focused” on the bill’s redesigned and said the process will “outlive his term.”

Placing Tubman on a federal reserve note was originally proposed by Obama-era Treasury Secretary Jack Lew after a 10-month process.

“The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old,” Mr. Lew said at the time. “I have been particularly struck by the many comments and reactions from children for whom Harriet Tubman is not just a historical figure, but a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy.”

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said the decision was based on “pure political correctness” and suggested she be put on the $2 bill instead.

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