The U.S. House Rules Committee decided tonight against allowing a vote on Representative Steve King’s proposal to block the U.S. Treasury Department from using federal funds to redesign any currency. In April, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced plans to redesign the $20 bill, with a picture of Harriet Tubman on the front and an image of President Andrew Jackson on the back.
The innovation didn’t sit well with King. As Zach Carter first reported for the Huffington Post, King offered his amendment to the appropriations bill covering the Treasury Department. Matthew Nussbaum reported this evening for Politico,
“It’s not about Harriet Tubman, it’s about keeping the picture on the $20,” King said Tuesday evening, pulling a $20 bill from his pocket and pointing at President Andrew Jackson. “Y’know? Why would you want to change that? I am a conservative, I like to keep what we have.”
The conservative gadfly said it is “racist” and “sexist” to say a woman or person of color should be added to currency. “Here’s what’s really happening, 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. … This is a divisive proposal on the part of the president and mine’s unifying. It says just don’t change anything.”
Has anyone seen a better example of white male privilege lately? U.S. paper currency has featured white men on all denominations for generations. Yet it’s "racist" and "sexist" to put an African-American woman on one bill and several white women on another—even though both redesigned bills would retain images of white men on one side.
Sensitivity to racial injustice has never been King’s strong suit, so of course he would call it "unifying" to keep the seventh president’s place on the $20. Never mind Jackson’s legacy of brutal Indian removal policies, not to mention direct involvement in the slave trade and attempts to limit postal delivery of abolitionist materials. In case King forgot, the Republican Party grew out of the anti-slavery movement.
With Donald Trump damaging the GOP brand among non-white Americans, House leaders needed unflattering national news coverage and an eventual floor vote on King’s amendment like a hole in the head. So the Rules Committee determined the proposal to be out of order. King can go back to fighting "bloodthirsty vegan brigades" and other imagined threats to American civilization.
UPDATE: Added below fantastic comments by King’s Democratic challenger, Kim Weaver.