Politico

Biden administration ramping up efforts to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill


President Joe Biden is looking to resume work to redesign the $20 bill to feature abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

She added that America’s currency should “reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”

The effort, initiated late in former President Barack Obama’s second term, was backburnered by the Trump administration under former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin has said that the delay was due to additional work needed on anti-counterfeiting security features, and that bills with her image on it were not likely to enter circulation before 2028.

The redesigned note, on which Tubman would usurp President Andrew Jackson — a slaveowner who would be relegated to the backside of the note — was supposed to roll out in 2020. The timing of the design’s unveiling was initially supposed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which extended voting rights to women.

Jackson, the 7th president, proved to be one of former president Donald Trump’s favorite historical figures. Trump spoke of Jackson often on the 2016 campaign trail, deriding plans replacing him with Tubman as “pure political correctness” and suggested placing Tubman on the $2 bill instead.

The Treasury Department has previously denied that the delay was influenced by political considerations. In 2019 the department’s inspector general agreed to open an investigation into the decision to push back the redesign for several years.

Over the summer Trump did propose including Tubman as part of a “national garden of American heroes” — though the future of that project is uncertain now that he is out of office.

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