The House Rules Committee June 21 denied floor consideration of a proposed amendment to a Treasury Department appropriations bill that would have blocked the redesign of the $20 Federal Reserve note to feature abolitionist Harriet Tubman, affected designs for future U.S. coins, including America the Beautiful quarter dollars, and more if enacted.
The proposed amendment to H.R. 5485 had been introduced June 17 in the House by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
The amendment, if passed, would have halted all redesign for U.S. paper money and coins, including changes already underway for the $10 Federal Reserve note intended to improve the note’s anti-counterfeiting properties and to comply with a 2008 federal court order requiring paper money to be accessible to the blind and visually impaired.
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King’s proposed amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017 was targeted toward modifying the following text in the legislation:
“Sec. 119. None of the funds appropriated in this Act or otherwise available to the Department of the Treasury or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing may be used to redesign the $1 Federal Reserve note.”
Had the amendment been adopted, the text would have read thus (emphasis added):
“Sec. 119. None of the funds appropriated in this Act or otherwise available to the Department of the Treasury or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing may be used to redesign the [sic] any Federal Reserve note or coin.”
OPINION: King amendment threatened our coins and notes
According to news sources, Rep. King acknowledged that the amendment was intended to stop design changes that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced on April 20. Lew announced that portrayal of Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 Federal Reserve note would be moved to the back, replaced on the face with a portrait of Tubman. A rendition of the White House will accompany Jackson’s portrait on the back.