Lawmakers push to put women on quarters

Throughout history, the vast majority of the faces embossed on US coins have belonged to men. But a new bipartisan bi...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 9:46 AM
Updated: Mar 16, 2018 9:46 AM

Throughout history, the vast majority of the faces embossed on US coins have belonged to men. But a new bipartisan bill aims to give more women a metal memorial.

Two US representatives -- Democrat Barbara Lee of California and Republican Bruce Poliquin of Maine -- on Thursday introduced a bill that would inject the coin circulation with quarters that feature prominent women from American history.

In a program that would mimic the ongoing commemorative collection that features state landmarks, the US Mint would churn out coins featuring women selected by leaders from all 50 states, five territories and DC. Their portraits would appear on the back side of the coins, opposite George Washington.

"We have so many women, first of all, who are unsung heroes, and their accomplishments haven't been recognized," Lee told CNNMoney. "This bill, and hopefully the coins, will give us a chance to really highlight them and make sure the world really knows who they are and what they have done. I think it's really long overdue."

The legislation, introduced during Women's History Month, would direct the governor or top official in each state or territory to consult with local women's organizations and other interested groups about their pick. No living people can appear on coins, so the women must be deceased, the bill stipulates.

Related: Mnuchin still won't commit to putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

The first design mockups could arrive in 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. And Lee said the first coins could enter circulation in 2021.

Lee worked for more than a year alongside former Treasurer Rosie Rios to draft this bill.

Rios has fought tooth-and-nail to get more female faces on US currency since she arrived in Washington DC to serve as President Obama's Treasurer almost a decade ago.

Her push to include a woman on the front of the $10 bill, the denomination that's currently due for a makeover, made headlines in 2015 and 2016.

The Treasury Secretary, however, has final say when it comes to redesigning paper currency. And former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew ultimately decided to keep Alexander Hamilton as the face of the $10. But he promised Harriet Tubman could one day replace Andrew Jackson on the $20, and he pledged to put a collage of female leaders on the back of the $10.

President Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has not said whether he intends to alter or follow Lew's plan. Mnuchin's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Even as Rios was pushing for a woman on the $10 bill, she was also quietly working with Lee on the coin legislation.

While Treasury can single-handedly redesign paper money, changes to coins must go through Congress.

Rosie Rios on the push for gender equality

"I had a whole plan," Rios told CNNMoney. "It wasn't just a woman for the sake of a woman. I knew our timeline [for issuing updated coins and currency] was 2020, the suffrage centennial. This is about giving half your population the chance to participate."

Poliquin, the Republican from Maine, said he jumped at the chance to co-sponsor Lee's bill when she approached him about it a couple weeks ago. Both are optimistic the measure will pass.

"I think we're going to have plenty of support," he said. "It's about women in our society and our country and economy."

When asked who they'd like to see represented on their home states' quarters, Lee said she doesn't have a specific woman in mind. Pliquin mentioned Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine lawmaker who became the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress. And Rios mentioned famed poet Maya Angelou, who lived in San Francisco, for her home state of California.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
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Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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