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Harriet Tubman $20 bill no longer coming in 2020: Mnuchin says redesign postponed

Key Points
  • The redesign of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will no longer be unveiled in 2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says.
  • The unveiling had been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Mnuchin said that the design process has been delayed, and no new imagery will be unveiled until 2028.
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There will be no Harriet Tubman $20 bill in the near future

The redesign of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will no longer be unveiled in 2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday.

The unveiling had been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Mnuchin said the design process has been delayed and no new imagery will be unveiled until 2028.

"The primary reason we have looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues," Mnuchin said in response to questions by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. "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."

The Tubman design was announced in 2016 by former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew following a 10-month process in which the department sought input from the public.

"The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old," 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."

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says $20 bill redesign has been postponed

President Donald Trump, months before he was elected, called the decision to put Tubman on the currency "pure political correctness" and proposed putting her portrait on the $2 bill.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., introduced a bill earlier this year that would direct the Treasury to print Tubman's portrait on all new $20 bills starting in 2021. The companion bill was sponsored by Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and John Katko, R-N.Y., in the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Shaheen said "this delay sends an unmistakable message to women and girls, and communities of color, who were promised they'd see Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill."

"The needless foot-dragging on this important effort is unacceptable. Our currency tells our country's story and it is past time to honor the contributions of Harriet Tubman," Shaheen said.

The Women on 20s campaign, which has been advocating for Tubman's inclusion on the $20 bill, said in a statement that "we're not surprised that Secretary Mnuchin may be kicking the design reveal of the $20 bill to sometime beyond the potential interference of a Trump presidency."

The group wrote that it hoped Congress will act on Shaheen's bill "and at the very least show us a Tubman bill design in time for the centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020. As we've been saying for years, symbols do matter."

WATCH: The 2016 announcement Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on $20 bill

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Tubman to replace Jackson on $20 bill

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the congresswoman who asked Mnuchin about the $20 bill redesign.