WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday that he is sticking with his plan to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman.
Lew announced last month that as part of a redesign of the $10 note, he hoped to put a woman on the bill. The department called for the public to weigh in on who should be honored. He said he expects a final decision soon.
``I think we have waited long enough,'' Lew said of the move to put a woman on U.S. paper currency for the first time in 100 years. He made his remarks Wednesday during an appearance at the Brookings Institution.
The initial announcement to remove Hamilton triggered a public outcry.
Critics of the decision complained that Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary, should be left on the $10 bill. Instead, they argued, a woman should be featured on the $20 bill in place of Andrew Jackson, who many historians view less favorably because of his treatment of Native Americans.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote in a blog post that he was ``appalled'' by Lew's plans to replace Hamilton, calling him ``without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history.''
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) also said he is all for a woman on a bill, but also said Hamilton should keep his place on the $10.
"I think he's been underrated -- to use a term that we use in sports -- and a lot of folks have been overrated," the lawmaker told WCBS 880's Jim Smith last month. "And I think he's had a lot to do with the growth of this country."
Pascrell said if anyone gets short-changed it should be Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
"Jackson was a slave owner. He was responsible for the Trail of Tears, which forced Native American tribes to migrate westward," he said.
Pascrell also added that the $20 bill has a wider circulation to properly honor the chosen woman.
Asked about all the controversy, Lew said that he wanted to move quickly to honor a woman and that the next bill scheduled for redesign to improve anti-counterfeiting features is the $10 bill.
Lew said that Hamilton's image would be retained in some way on the redesigned bill. But his position has drawn fire from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said a woman should not have to share the $10 bill with a man.
Treasury has said that once a woman is selected, it will aim to complete the redesign by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.
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