The June 3 issue of the Washington Post took a fresh look at the snail’s speed advancement of getting Harriet Tubman about the $20 Federal Reserve note. Annie Linskey wrote of what could be bureaucratic inertia playing a part in the delay.
That is despite the fact, as the story relates, that the Biden administration said it would search for ways to accelerate the development of a Tubman note. There is not much indication that any steps were taken to change the program that the story says was established years ago”with a small agency within the Treasury Department.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. , long a proponent of this Tubman note, told the Post,”If we could put a helicopter on Mars, we ought to be able to design a $20 bill in under 20 years… It’s all about commitment.” The senator allegedly spoke to aides to President Biden after the election also believes that while they’re in favor of this shift, they’re unsure how to accelerate the process.
Activists who complain that United States money doesn’t portray the country as it is now feature the delay to the resistance of the machinery of government. For instance, they say the Bureau of Engraving and Printing demonstrates very little interest in implementing any modifications. The founder of Girls on 20s, Barbara Ortiz Howard, told the Post reporter,”They don’t wish to make the shift, which I think is the sole explanation for all of this crap”
“We are devoted to the objective of redesigning U.S. money to better reflect the diversity and history of our country, but the security of our currency remains paramount.”
This is not a new excuse, but one the BEP has been giving for years. Anti-counterfeiting measures placed on a notice are said to require years of testing and development by diverse interested parties.
Another impediment is said to be a national court order in 2008 that necessitates tactile components be put on future notes to help the blind and visually impaired identify them. Objections to the are coming from banks that are concerned about just how much it might cost them to convert ATMs, and that the raised features would make stacking notes harder.
As anyone who has pulled money in any number of foreign countries can attest, this objection is nonsense.
Two unnamed Treasury officials who talked to the Article wouldn’t state if Secretary Janet Yellen could change the order so the $20 note could be issued prior to the $10 denomination, or if Tubman might be transferred into the $10 note rather, to the chagrin of supporters of this Hamilton Broadway musical.
Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who initiated the design change in 2016, said that when he tried to speed up the pace of design work, the bureaucracy countered he was pushing too hard. Lew acknowledged that the procedure was”mind-numbingly slow,” but the security problems were real and couldn’t be hurried.
Eric Bridges, executive director of the American Council of the Blind, possibly summed up the situation best, stating,”Unless President Biden or somebody at the White House gets actively involved with this problem, in negotiating a resolution or holding folks accountable, it’s not likely to finish.”