The Obama administration said in 2016 that abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill by 2020 — in time for the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. But on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the redesign of the bills would be delayed — by eight years.
Addressing lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee, Mnuchin said he needs to prioritize anti-counterfeiting measures for the $10 and $50 bills, according to The Hill. The task of redesigning the $20 bill, he said, would likely fall to one of his successors.
“The primary reason we’ve looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues,” Mnuchin said. “Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028; the $10 and the $50 will come out with new features beforehand.”
Mnuchin’s predecessor, Jacob Lew, set the redesign in motion around three years ago. He had initially planned to bump Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill and replace him with a woman, but was met with a swell of outrage from fans of the musical Hamilton.
The decision to replace Jackson’s image with that of Tubman is particularly significant. Jackson, in addition to being a military hero and the country’s seventh president, was a slave owner; Tubman was an escaped slave who helped usher other slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
President Trump, an admirer of Jackson, said during 2016 campaign that the bid to redesign the $20 is “pure political correctness.” He added that he thinks Tubman is “fantastic,” and suggested putting her image on a new $2 bill.
A woman’s image has not appeared on American paper currency since Martha Washington was briefly honored on the $1 silver certificate in the late 19th century.
According to The Hill, lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation ordering the Treasury Department to move forward with the redesign, but it is not clear if the legislation has sufficient backing to pass through both chambers.
Read more at The Hill.