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Senators press Treasury to prioritize Tubman $20 redesign

Senators press Treasury to prioritize Tubman $20 redesign
© Greg Nash

Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenLawmakers express horror at latest Capitol attack Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure MORE (D-N.H.) and Ben SasseBen SasseTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Maine GOP rejects motion to censure Collins Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE (R-Neb.) are asking Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenRepublicans can't handle the truth about taxes Biden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Democrats see political winner in tax fight MORE to prioritize the release of the redesigned $20 bill replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman.

The two senators noted in a letter Tuesday that the Treasury Department announced the change in 2016 following a public input period during which it received “thousands” of comments. The Trump Treasury Department, under then-Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE, indicated in 2020 that it would not continue with the alteration despite existing work on the redesign.

“We hope sincerely that is no longer the case, and encourage the prioritization of Ms. Tubman before working on other redesigns. We stand ready to offer any support for your efforts to ensure this towering figure in our nation’s history receives the recognition she has deserved for so long. Our currency tells the story of our nation, and it is long past due for Ms. Tubman’s part of that story to be told,” they wrote.

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“Accordingly, we urge the Department under your leadership to move swiftly with this redesign so these notes can enter circulation as quickly as possible,” the letter concluded.

The Biden administration said in late January, days after the president took office, that it sought to expedite efforts to introduce the redesigned denomination.

"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," White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhite House sends mixed message on higher taxes The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Biden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts MORE told reporters Jan. 25. "So we’re exploring ways to speed up that effort."

Mnuchin announced in 2019 that the change would be delayed until at least 2028, despite his predecessor Jacob Lew’s announcement that the new design would be released in 2020.

The Hill has reached out to the Treasury Department for comment on the matter.