Next month the administration and Congress face a looming congressional struggle over raising the nation’s debt limit to avoid a United States default. So, Treasure Secy. Steven Mnuchin has just let it be known that he has more important things to do than changing the faces on the country’s $20 bill, among others.
Currently, as you might know if you just got paid, it’s Andrew Jackson, an early Democrat, on the $20. He was a hero of the War of 1812 and a rough-hewn two-term president. He was also a successful military leader in battles against native Americans during his era.
Last year, another two-term president, Barack Obama, approved a change that would delete Old Hickory’s visage from the front and substituted it with Harriet Tubman’s face. (See above.) The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says it has received no instructions yet to implement the changes, which candidate Donald Trump criticized as “pure political correctness.”
Born in Maryland, Tubman (1832-1913) was an American humanitarian, abolitionist and Union Army scout and spy during the Civil War. Tubman would have been the first black woman depicted on U.S. currency.
In an interview with CNBC Thursday, Mnuchin would not commit to following through on Obama’s scheduled changes. These included moving Jackson to the back of the $20, adding Tubman on the front, featuring leaders of the suffrage movement on the $10 bill and depicting historic civil rights events at the Lincoln Memorial on the $5 bill.
“It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment” Mnuchin said. “The issues of why we change it will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes.”
Traditionally, such image changes are made to the currency only to counter increasingly sophisticated counterfeiting efforts. For some reason, many people suspected that Obama’s planned final year currency changes were tied to something other than fake money.