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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says New $20 Bill Won't Come Out Until 2028

May 23, 2019
Originally published on May 23, 2019 7:47 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Andrew Jackson is keeping his place on the $20 bill for now. That's according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose department oversees the design of currency. In its final year, the Obama administration said that a new $20 bill would feature the escaped-slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, although Andrew Jackson, war hero, president and slave owner, might stay on the bill somewhere. It would've happened next year, but the administration of the president, who's an Andrew Jackson fan, put it off. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: It has long been clear that the Trump administration was far from enthused about the plan to put Harriet Tubman on the new twenty and replace Andrew Jackson. Candidate Trump was asked about it on NBC's the "Today" show when it was announced in early 2016.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic. I would love to - I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill.

GONYEA: He then said it was pure political correctness. So yesterday, when Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was testifying before a House committee, Democrat Ayanna Pressley asked him this.

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AYANNA PRESSLEY: Will the redesign meet the 2020 deadline, yes or no?

GONYEA: Mnuchin's answer was less than direct.

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STEVEN MNUCHIN: So let me comment that the primary reason we've looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues.

GONYEA: And he said his focus has been on other denominations of U.S. currency.

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MNUCHIN: The ultimate decision on the redesign will most likely be another secretary's down the road.

GONYEA: Meaning it won't be until 2026 or 2028.

DAINA RAMEY BERRY: I'm disappointed.

GONYEA: That's Daina Ramey Berry of the University of Texas. She has written extensively about the history of slavery and Harriet Tubman.

BERRY: You know, she freed herself. She served her country. And now she's being disrespected by a current administration who doesn't want to acknowledge the wonderful gift that she brought to this nation.

GONYEA: The planned redesign was timed for next year's 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in the U.S.

Don Gonyea, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.