The Treasury Department’s plan to put abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill will proceed after the House Rules Committee on Tuesday shot down an amendment that would have blocked the rollout of the new currency.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) proposed an amendment to a spending bill that would the use of funds to redesign any Federal Reserve note or coin. He said that the amendment was not intended as a slight to Tubman, but a symbol of his “conservative” commitment to preserving history.
“It’s not about Harriet Tubman, it’s about keeping the picture on the $20,” King told Politico. “Y’know? Why would you want to change that? I am a conservative, I like to keep what we have.”
The Iowa Republican went on to say that it was “racist” and “sexist” to suggest that a woman or person of color be included on U.S. currency. For King, the proposal to replace former president Andrew Jackson, a slaveowner, with an abolitionist and feminist icon was “liberal activism.”
“This is a divisive proposal on the part of the president, and mine’s unifying,” he told Politico. “It says just don’t change anything.”
The Treasury Department first announced in April that Tubman would replace Jackson on the front of the bill, and the former president’s image would move to the back.