Rep. King's Move to Block Harriet Tubman From $20 Comes Up Short

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Harriet Tubman
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Harriet TubmanCQ Roll Call via AP | Library of Congress

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Halimah Abdullah

Rep. Steve King's quest to prevent abolitionist and suffragist, Harriet Tubman, from replacing former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 stopped a buck short of succeeding Tuesday night.

That's because the House Rules committee decided not to consider the Iowa Republican's proposed amendment to keep Tubman off the $20. He wanted to add the amendment to a measure funding the Treasury Department.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Harriet TubmanCQ Roll Call via AP | Library of Congress

"It's not about Harriet Tubman, it's about keeping the picture on the $20," King said on Tuesday evening, according to Politico. He pulled a $20 bill from his pocket, pointed at Jackson and added. "Y'know? Why would you want to change that? I am a conservative, I like to keep what we have."

In April, the Treasury Department announced that Tubman would replace Jackson on the $20 on bills to be unveiled in 2020 — the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote. Founding father Alexander Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 and the back will feature suffragists who fought to give women the right to vote including Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul.

The $5 bill will feature famous events that took place at the Lincoln Memorial such as Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his "I Have Dream" speech and opera singer Marian Anderson belting it out on the monument's steps at First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's invitation because Washington D.C. concert halls were segregated.

Related: Harriet Tubman to Replace President Andrew Jackson on $20 Bill

Tubman was often dubbed "Moses" due to her efforts in helping lead slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. She helped the Union during the Civil War by providing guidance, intelligence, battle leadership and nursed ill troops. She was also a suffragist who advocated for women to have the right to vote.

King previously called the Treasury's move "racist" and "sexist".

King isn't the only Republican who has problems with Tubman on the $20.

Related: For Trump, Tubman on $20 Bill Illustrates Broader American Problem

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called the move "pure political correctness" back in April. So did former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson and several conservative media personalities.

"I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic," Trump said in an interview on NBC's Today Show that month. "I would love to — I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill."

Trump spoke highly of Tubman's achievements, but said replacing Jackson on the denomination was a step in the wrong direction.

"I don't like seeing it. Yes, I think it's pure political correctness. Been on the bill [Jackson] for many, many years," Trump said. "And, you know, really represented somebody that really was very important to this country. I would love to see another denomination, and that could take place. I think — I think it would be more appropriate."

As for King, he has another topic in his crosshairs which he says also runs afoul of tradition: blocking the administration from imposing "meatless Mondays" on troops.