Why Some Lawmakers Want to Keep Alexander Hamilton on the $10 Bill

PHOTO: In this Sept. 28, 2005 file photo Anna Escobedo Cabral, left, Treasurer of the U.S., joins John Snow, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury, at the unveiling of the new $10 note on Ellis Island, in New York harbor.Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo
In this Sept. 28, 2005 file photo Anna Escobedo Cabral, left, Treasurer of the U.S., joins John Snow, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury, at the unveiling of the new $10 note on Ellis Island, in New York harbor.

Not everyone is excited about the Treasury Department’s decision to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.

A group 64 lawmakers, including Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-New Jersey, and Rep. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, have asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to keep Hamilton on the $10 bill, and instead replace President Andrew Jackson with a woman on the $20.

"We find it disappointing that Alexander Hamilton, one of the most influential interpreters of the U.S. Constitution...and the founder of the nation’s financial system, will be removed from our currency," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Lew last week.

The members are backing a grassroots effort to put a woman on the $20 bill. Supporters say Jackson’s treatment of Native Americans, his opposition to paper money and his ownership of slaves are all reasons why he should be replaced with a famous female.

"America’s currency sends a message both at home and abroad about our shared values,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, we have to get that message right.”

Other Hamilton advocates -- including former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, and Doug Hamilton, a descendant of the first Treasury secretary -- have also called on Lew to instead revisit the $20 bill.

The Treasury Department announced in June that a woman would replace Hamilton at the center of the $10 bill in 2020, but has yet to select a replacement. Hamilton will still be featured on the remodeled currency.

Older $10 bills will remain in circulation.

Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt are some of the leading candidates for the new $10 bill, according to several polls. Members of Congress have been pushing their own candidates.

"I would add Francis Perkins, who is the first woman Cabinet officer and the author of Social Security. She certainly has affected many lives," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, shortly after the change was announced.