Monthly Archives: August 2017

Trump treasury secretary won’t commit to putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

By Damian Paletta

Harriet Tubman. (H.B. Lindsley/Library of Congress/AP)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday would not commit to carrying out the Obama administration’s plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, saying he had not made a decision about the matter.

Mnuchin said the decision would be based on how to design the currency in a way that prevents counterfeiting, rather than whose portrait was on the bill.

“Ultimately we will be looking at this issue,” Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview. “It’s not something I’m focused on at the moment.”

Mnuchin added that “the issues of why we change it will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes.”

President Barack Obama and then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew proposed last year to take President Andrew Jackson’s image off the $20 bill and replace it with Tubman’s. Tubman, an abolitionist who helped many enslaved people escape, would be the only woman and only African American on commonly used U.S. paper currency.

Under Lew’s plan, Tubman’s image would be on the front of the $20 bill and Jackson’s image would appear on the other side.

The process was supposed to take several years.

President Trump has said he is very fond of Jackson, at times remarking that his election was reminiscent of the populist campaign that brought Jackson into power in 1829. Trump has a portrait of Jackson on the wall in the Oval Office.

Last year, in an interview with NBC, Trump said Tubman was “fantastic” but said putting her on the $20 bill was an example of “pure political correctness.”

“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill,” Trump said last year. “I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come …read more


Trump could seek billions in Harvey recovery aid next week

By Damian Paletta, Ed O’Keefe and Mike DeBonis

President Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hold a news conference at the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center in Austin on Aug. 29. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Trump could request a package of emergency funding to deal with the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey as soon as next week, a senior administration official said, reshuffling the political agenda as the White House scrambles to deal with devastation left by the storm.

The funding package is expected to only be a partial down payment and serve in part to backstop depleted reserves that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had on hand to respond to disasters.

No final decision on the funding request has been made and it could fluctuate based on conversations with lawmakers.

Trump has promised political leaders in Texas that he would do whatever was necessary to help them deal with the widespread flooding brought on by record rainfall in the southeastern part of the state.

Congressional leaders return from a lengthy recess next week. Lawmakers from both parties have said they want to direct emergency aid in the wake of flooding caused by the hurricane, but it’s unclear how long passing such a measure could take.

House Republican aides said White House and congressional staff have started discussing what measures might be necessary to aid storm victims but that there is no firm plan yet for how or when Congress might act.

The White House and congressional leaders have not yet determined how large the initial rescue package should be, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the state will need more financial support than the government extended to Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

Trump is planning to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Paul D. Ryan …read more