Cummings, Katko Question Administration’s Delay of Redesign of $20 Featuring Harriet Tubman

June 6, 2019
Press Release
Cummings and Katko authored the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act

Washington, DC (June 6, 2019)—Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) and Congressman John Katko (R-NY), authors of the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act in the House of Representatives, sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressing their disappointment in the recent announcement of delays in the U.S. Treasury Department’s commitment to feature Harriet Tubman’s portrait on the $20 Federal Reserve note.

The Members also asked for an update on the timeframe for the reveal and circulation of all Federal Reserve notes currently undergoing the redesign process and for the Treasury Department to provide specific information regarding security considerations that have delayed the reveal of updated portraits on redesigned notes.

Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) joined Cummings and Katko in sending the letter.

“We write to express significant disappointment regarding your recent announcement of delays in the U.S. Treasury Department's commitment to feature Harriet Tubman's portrait on the $20 Federal Reserve note,” wrote the Members.  “As a conductor on the Underground Railroad and a supporter of the women's suffrage movement, Harriet Tubman played a critical role in some of the most significant efforts in our country's history to ensure the basic rights of all Americans.  In consideration of her continued role in inspiring individuals of all backgrounds to pursue freedom and equality, we believe that memorializing Tubman on the $20 note would serve as a fitting tribute to her life and legacy.”

“With this important history in mind, we ask that you reaffirm the Treasury's previous commitment to feature Harriet Tubman on the $20 note and provide an updated timeframe for the reveal and circulation of all Federal Reserve notes currently undergoing the redesign process.  In addition to confirming the inclusion of Tubman's portrait on the $20 note, we ask that you provide specific information regarding security considerations that have delayed the reveal of updated portraits on redesigned notes,” the Members continued.

Congressmen Cummings and Katko have introduced the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act in 2015, 2017, and most recently in February.  The bill, as currently written, directs the Secretary of the Treasury to place the likeness of Harriet Tubman on $20 Federal Reserve notes printed after December 31, 2020.

The full text of the letter follows and can be found here.

 

June 5, 2019

 

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin

United States Secretary of the Treasury

U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin,

We write to express significant disappointment regarding your recent announcement of delays in the U.S. Treasury Department's commitment to feature Harriet Tubman's portrait on the $20 Federal Reserve note.

While we understand the many critical security considerations that must go into the redesign of any Federal Reserve note, representation for women and people of color on our nation's currency is long overdue. The Treasury's previous commitment to unveil the final design featuring Harriet Tubman on the $20 note by the year 2020, represented a significant step in addressing this disparity and recognizing the importance of a remarkable figure in American history.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad and a supporter of the women's suffrage movement, Harriet Tubman played a critical role in some of the most significant efforts in our country's history to ensure the basic rights of all Americans. In consideration of her continued role in inspiring individuals of all backgrounds to pursue freedom and equality, we believe that memorializing Tubman on the $20 note would serve as a fitting tribute to her life and legacy.

With this important history in mind, we ask that you reaffirm the Treasury's previous commitment to feature Harriet Tubman on the $20 note and provide an updated timeframe for the reveal and circulation of all Federal Reserve notes currently undergoing the redesign process. In addition to confirming the inclusion of Tubman's portrait on the $20 note, we ask that you provide specific information regarding security considerations that have delayed the reveal of updated portraits on redesigned notes. 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

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