The Senate Finance Committee’s (SFC) top ranking Democrat has introduced a bill to restore a retirement savings program known as myRA that was terminated by Treasury last year. The myRA program was created by former President Obama through an Executive Order.
“Cost-of-living is soaring with working families having less and less to save for their futures,” SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a November 15 tweet. “Today, I’m introducing a bill to address this retirement crisis.”
The Encouraging Americans to Save Bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Michael Bennet, D-Colo. An earlier version of the bill, Sen. 2492, was introduced by Wyden in the 114th Congress that also aimed to expand the myRA program.
“The Encouraging Americans to Save [Bill] enhances retirement savings incentives by restructuring the existing, nonrefundable saver’s credit into a refundable, government matching contribution of up to $500 a year for middle-class workers who save through 401(k) type plans or IRAs,” Wyden’s November 15 press release noted. Additionally, the bill would restore the myRA program, which Treasury determined last year was too costly to continue.
The Obama-era myRA program was designed as a government-sponsored retirement savings program available to individuals without access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Although the program was determined to have very little demand to warrant its high operating costs, Democrats attributed the low sign-up to the program still being in its infancy. However, Republicans criticized the program as an “executive overreach” that could not become successful based on its investments in little interest yielding Treasury bonds and posed certain risks to taxpayers and employees.
House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard Neal, D-Mass., along with Wyden, sent a letter last year to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging Treasury to continue the myRA program. Neal is expected to become chairman of the House’s tax writing committee this coming January in the 116th Congress.
However, considering the Trump administration ended the program, it is seen as unlikely on Capitol Hill that Trump would support legislation to restore it. Moreover, Republicans will retain their majority-hold of the Senate in the next Congress, thus further limiting its chances of success.