Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Will Be Delayed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said this week that the Harriet Tubman $20 bill redesign won't happen until 2026, at the earliest, but not everyone is waiting until then for the change.
NPR logo

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Will Be Delayed

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/726784391/726784392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Will Be Delayed

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Will Be Delayed

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Will Be Delayed

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/726784391/726784392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said this week that the Harriet Tubman $20 bill redesign won't happen until 2026, at the earliest, but not everyone is waiting until then for the change.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Back in 2016 came a big announcement from the Treasury Department.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The United States currency is in for the first changes in a long time.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It involved several bills, most notably, the 20. President Andrew Jackson's face would be replaced by that of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Here's then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew talking about the decision on "PBS NewsHour."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PBS NEWSHOUR")

JACK LEW: The story of Harriet Tubman means a lot to people of all ages in this country, and it speaks to something very important about American democracy.

KELLY: Tubman would be the first woman since Martha Washington to appear on a U.S. bill and the first ever African-American. Now, this was all supposed to happen next year.

CORNISH: The plan was not without its critics. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said shortly after the announcement that he thought Harriet Tubman was fantastic, but...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don't like seeing it. Yes. I think it's pure political correctness.

KELLY: Then in 2017, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walked back the Obama administration's plans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEVEN MNUCHIN: People have been on the bills for a long period of time. This is something we'll consider. Right now, we've got a lot more important issues to focus on.

CORNISH: This week, it was confirmed. The 2020 debut date for the Harriet Tubman bill would not happen. When Secretary Mnuchin was questioned about it, he responded that anti-counterfeiting matters were his top priority.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MNUCHIN: Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028.

KELLY: But if you just can't wait until 2028, you might be in luck. New York-based artist Dano Wall has been making rubber stamps with Harriet Tubman's face on them. The image fits perfectly over Andrew Jackson's face for a do-it-yourself redesign.

CORNISH: The Tubman stamps sold out completely this week. Wall says more are on the way.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.