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In Case You Missed It – New York Times: Senators urge Janet Yellen to prioritize a $20 bill redesign with Harriet Tubman

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) sent a letter this week to U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, urging the Department to prioritize putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The Senators’ letter comes in response to the Biden administration’s announcement that it is exploring ways to see the effort through.

Senator Shaheen has led action in the Senate for years to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill and has been in touch with Biden transition officials at the U.S Department of Treasury to make this a priority. Shaheen re-introduced the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act in the Senate in 2019 as part of her longstanding leadership in Congress to honor women on our nation’s currency. In 2015, she called on the Obama administration to feature a woman on our currency through executive action. Senator Shaheen repeatedly pushed the Trump administration to stop dragging its feet on the redesign of the $20 bill to feature the likeness of Harriet Tubman.

Alan Rappeport with the New York Times has the story, which can be read here or in full below:


New York Times: Senators urge Janet Yellen to prioritize a $20 bill redesign with Harriet Tubman.

Feb. 11, 2021

By Alan Rappeport

The effort to make Harriet Tubman the face of the $20 note got a bipartisan push this week as two senators urged Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen to prioritize the planned redesign that stalled during the Trump administration.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, and Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, sent a letter to Ms. Yellen this week making the case that America’s currency should reflect the diversity of the country. They lamented that the plan put in place by the Obama administration in 2016, to unveil a $20 note design in 2020 with Ms. Tubman’s image on the front, was not carried out by former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“We hope sincerely that is no longer the case, and encourage the prioritization of Ms. Tubman before working on other redesigns,” they wrote. “We stand ready to offer any support for your efforts to ensure this towering figure in our nation’s history receives the recognition she has deserved for so long.”

The Biden administration said last month that Ms. Yellen would be studying ways to speed up the process of adding Harriet Tubman’s portrait to the front of the $20 bill.  “It’s important that our money reflect the history and diversity of our country,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said.

A Treasury spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about whether the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which the department oversees, had resumed the redesign featuring Ms. Tubman.

Work on the redesign had started under the watch of former President Barack Obama’s Treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, but Mr. Mnuchin said that enhancing the security features of the new notes took priority over changes to the imagery. Mr. Trump had previously expressed his disapproval of the idea of replacing President Andrew Jackson, a fellow populist, with Ms Tubman, a former slave and abolitionist.

The Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering Committee laid out plans in 2013 for the redesign of the $10 and $5 notes to occur before the $20.

Ms. Shaheen and several House Democrats have been vocal supporters of the initiative to replace Mr. Jackson with Ms. Tubman as the face of the $20. Few Republican lawmakers have expressed public support for the change.