GOP congressman: It's 'racist' and 'sexist' to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

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Last week, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment to an annual Treasury Department spending bill with the aim of preventing the government from putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Back in April, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had announced that the $5, $10 and $20 will eventually be altered to feature women's and civil rights activists—including Tubman, who is set to replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20.


King's amendment would have barred the treasury from spending any money on designing new currency. Luckily, the House Rules Committee decided to bar consideration of the amendment. (Phew!)

King, who once said undocumented immigrant children have "got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” said it would be "racist" and "sexist" to put Tubman on American currency.


"Here's what's really happening," King told Politico. "This is liberal activism on the part of the president that's trying to identify people by categories, and he's divided us on the lines of groups." King added, "This is a divisive proposal on the part of the president, and mine's unifying. It says just don't change anything."

King argued that his position has less to do with kicking Tubman off the bill and more to do with keeping Jackson on the bill.

There are plenty of reasons to honor Tubman, who devoted her life to freeing slaves and helping them rebuild, and plenty to remove Jackson, whose Indian Removal Act forced tens of thousands of Native Americans to leave their homes.

Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.