President Joe Biden has wasted no time getting to work. In his first few days in office, his dozens of executive actions include pushing for a $15 minimum wage, encouraging everyone to wear face masks, and reversing some of former President Donald Trump’s policies (via CNN).
According to a press briefing, Biden is also hoping to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman — something that could happen soon. “It’s important that our notes, our money, reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, (via People). “So we’re exploring ways to speed up that effort, but any specifics would, of course, come from the Department of Treasury.”
Plans to replace Jackson with Tubman have been in place for years but stalled during Trump’s presidency. “The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old,” wrote former Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in 2016 in an open letter. “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.”
The new $20 bill was supposed to be released in 2020
Lew added, “Looking back on her life, Tubman once said, ‘I would fight for liberty so long as my strength lasted.’ And she did fight, for the freedom of slaves and for the right of women to vote. Her incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embodies the ideals of democracy that our nation celebrates, and we will continue to value her legacy by honoring her on our currency.”
The new $20 bill was supposed to be unveiled last year, but Trump’s Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, said in 2019 that it would be nearly a decade before it finally entered circulation due to a need to redesign the bill. “The primary reason we’ve looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues,” he said (via USA Today). “Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028.”
While there’s not yet a timeline for when the new $20 bill featuring Tubman will come out, Biden seems committed to it happening sooner rather than later.
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