Shaheen renews push to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill
WASHINGTON – As Women’s History Month gets underway, this week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) renewed her nearly decade-long push to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill by introducing the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act of 2023. For years, Shaheen has urged U.S. Department of Treasury officials through three different administrations to feature Tubman’s likeness on the $20 bill. Tubman would be the first woman and Black American to be printed on a U.S. bill denomination.
Specifically, Shaheen’s bill would require the U.S. Department of Treasury to print all $20 Federal Reserve notes after December 31, 2030 bearing the likeness of Harriet Tubman. The legislation allows for a two-year delay – at most – to address any issues related to printing or counterfeiting.
“Images on U.S. paper currency are a reflection of our values and history, and more than that, these images send a message to Americans and world travelers about the story of America. Some of the most significant chapters of our collective history were shaped by women, which is why it’s egregious that a woman has never been featured on U.S. paper currency. That status quo has to go,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m renewing my call to the Department of Treasury to redesign the $20 bill in Harriet Tubman’s likeness. An abolitionist, a patriot and an American icon – Harriet Tubman is supremely deserving of this honor. I’ve pushed numerous administrations to make this a priority and I won’t stop until we see it through. Women and girls, and particularly communities of color, deserve to see themselves represented and honored on U.S. paper currency.”
Shaheen has long led action in the Senate pushing for Harriet Tubman’s depiction on the $20 bill. In 2015, she called on the Obama administration to feature a woman on our currency through executive action, and introduced the bipartisan Harriet Tubman Tribute Act to require all $20 bills to bear Tubman’s likeness. During the Trump administration, Shaheen called on U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to release a detailed timeline on the $20 bill redesign to meet the 2020 deadline in conjunction with the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage. Secretary Mnuchin failed to provide such information and the Trump administration refused to make this a priority. Shaheen engaged with the Biden administration transition team before the President took office, urging his administration to make this a priority. In 2021, Shaheen, along with then-U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), sent a letter to current U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, urging the Department to prioritize putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.