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New $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman delayed until after Trump leaves office

Harriet Tubman [FILE PHOTO]
By Gary Dinges gdinges@gatehousemedia.com
Posted: May. 24, 2019 1:49 pm

A planned makeover for the $20 bill isn't happening as quickly as initially promised.

In 2016, then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that an image of Harriet Tubman would replace one of Andrew Jackson on the front of a newly designed $20 bill. Jackson's image would move to the back of the bill under Lew's plan, according to CNN.

Lew was appointed by President Barack Obama. 

But current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin revealed this week that any currency with Tubman's likeness wouldn't be ready until 2028, after President Donald Trump is out of office. Trump was elected in 2016 and is up for re-election in 2020 for a second and final four-year term.

Mnunchin told members of Congress that the Treasury Department is more focused on adding security features to the $20 bill to prevent counterfeiting, CNN reports. As a result, the next version of the $20 bill will keep Jackson's image on the front.

News that there would be a wait of almost a decade for the Tubman version of the $20 bill miffed several members of Congress.

"The administration's decision to drag their feet and delay the redesign of the $20 until 2028 is unacceptable," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said.

The desire to shift Jackson off the front of the $20 bill is due, in part, to the fact the former president owned slaves. Tubman was born into slavery and later became a vocal activist.

Tubman's family is also upset by the delay.

"I'm so mad and frustrated and angry, she deserves to be there," Martin Wyatt, Tubman's great-great-great-grandniece, told Elle magazine. "This would have been an honor, an olive branch and an acknowledgement, of sorts, from the president to say, 'We want to honor this African American woman that rose out of oppression, we want to honor what she did for this country.' To me, she's the greatest of patriots, and should be represented in our currency."

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