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Biden Admin to ‘Speed Up’ Efforts to Place Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill

Detail of portrait of Harriet Tubman, c. 1871-76. (Harvey B. Lindsley/Library of Congress)

The Biden administration is hoping to “speed up” efforts to place Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill after the Obama-era initiative came to a standstill under the Trump administration.

“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriett Tubman on the front of the $20 notes,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing on Monday.

“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,” she said. “So we’re exploring ways to speed up that effort.”

In April 2016 the Treasury Department announced that Tubman, who escaped slavery and helped lead more than 300 others to freedom, would be placed on the front of the $20 bill, while former President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder, would be moved to the bill’s reverse side.

Then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew suggested that the design could be unveiled in 2020 in time for the 100th anniversary of the passage of women’s suffrage.

Before his election in 2016, Trump called the move “pure political correctness” and suggested that Tubman be featured on the $2 bill instead.

However, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in 2019 that the process would be delayed until 2028. That same year, the Treasury announced it would open a probe into what caused the delay in the production of the new $20 bill.

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