House Democrats on Thursday protested on the steps of the Treasury Department, rallying for a congressional measure that would require $20 bills to include an image of abolitionist and Civil War spy Harriet Tubman.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Ayanna Pressley joined Rep. Joyce Beatty in support of the “Women on The Twenty Act.”
Beatty introduced the measure in early June after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified in May that the $20 bill won’t be redesigned next year.
The Treasury Department’s acting inspector general agreed to look into the delayed redesign in a letter released Monday after a request by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Pressley, referring to the probe, said, “We welcome the investigation, but it could take months if not longer. And we are not going to wait.”
The Democrats spoke about Tubman’s history and courage while holding signs that read “Show Me the Tubmans” and “Tubman on the Twenty.” Beatty had the phrase stamped on the back of her white blazer.
“We not only honor her because of her gender, we not only honor her because of the color of her skin,” Hoyer said. “We honor her for her character, her character to save and preserve and uphold America’s values.”
Pressley addressed the May hearing, saying that she was “dismayed but certainly not surprised” by Mnuchin’s announcement. “This administration continues to stonewall to obstruct and to ignore the will of the American people every day,” she said. “Secretary Mnuchin has allowed Trump’s racism and misogyny to prevent him from carrying out the will of American people.”
Mnuchin said at the House Financial Services hearing that the focus for now was a redesign to improve security and anti-counterfeit features. New imagery, he said, would likely not be addressed until 2026.
Former Obama Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced plans for Tubman to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill in 2016. The redesign was supposed to go into effect next year as a part of an effort to get more women on U.S. currency.
President Donald Trump called the plans “pure political correctness” as a candidate during a town hall on NBC’s “Today Show” in 2016.