Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said during a congressional hearing Wednesday that a redesign of the $20 bill to feature abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman would not be ready in time for a planned 2020 release.
"The primary reason we've looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues," Mnuchin said when asked by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., whether the new currency would be ready on time. "Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028. The $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features beforehand.
"The ultimate decision on the redesign will most likely be another secretary's down the road."
Mnuchin explained during his appearance before the House Financial Services Committee that his department would "meet the security feature redesign in 2020" but "the imagery feature will not be an issue that comes up until, most likely, 2026."
After then-President Barrack Obama said he thought putting more women on U.S. currency was a "pretty good idea," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew asked for public comment about which woman should be added.
"We actually listened to people. And there was a legitimate concern about what bill a woman goes on the front of, and what story we had to tell," Lew said. In April 2016, he announced that Tubman would be replacing Jackson on the $20 and that Jackson would be moved into a scene of the White House on the reverse side.
Lew admitted that it would be up to the next Treasury secretary to see the change through, but he said the change's popularity would lead to backlash if it was abandoned.
"I don't think someone is going to want to do that," he said.
Popular move: $20 Tubman welcomed with Internet jubilation
Failed: Republican Rep. Steve King's proposal that would have kept Harriet Tubman off $20 bill
Pressley asked Mnuchin - who agreed "representation is important," but refused to say whether he thought U.S. currency should be more reflective of American diversity - whether he supported putting Tubman on the $20 bill.
"I've made no decision as it relates to that," he said.
Pressley argued that the change to the bill was made after a lengthy "community process."
"It's a decision of the secretary of the Treasury," he replied. "Right now, my decision is focused on security features."
When Pressley asked Mnuchin whether he agreed with President Donald Trump - who said in 2016 that replacing former President Andrew Jackson with Tubman on the $20 was "pure political correctness" and suggested she instead could be placed on the $2 - Mnuchin again said his focus was on the currency's security features.
"So does that mean you have no intention of executing the redesign as planned by your predecessor?" Pressley asked.
"That is correct. I have not made a decision to execute on a redesign," he said.
"People other than white men built this county. And Sec Mnuchin agrees, yet he refuses to update our #currency," Pressley said in a tweet after exchange. "#HarrietTubman #MarianAnderson & #EleanorRoosevelt are iconic Americans & its past time that our reflects that. #RepresentationMatters."
Contributing: Gregory Korte
Harriet Tubman national park: Visitors pour in during first year, shattering projections
More: Rare Harriet Tubman photo garners $161K at auction
More: Nicki Minaj slammed for comparing herself to Harriet Tubman
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump Treasury Secretary says Harriet Tubman $20 bill release delayed 8 years