News Releases

In new letter, Sen. Murray and top Democrats call on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to act “swiftly” to maintain myRA program; “demonstrate commitment” to helping hardworking families in Washington state and nationwide save for retirement 

The myRA program provides access to starter retirement savings account for individuals who are not covered by an employer-sponsored plan, cannot open an IRA  

Sen. Murray, Democrats concerned myRA could be next target by Trump Admin following efforts to thwart state, city-run retirement programs—LINK  

Sen. Murray, Democrats: “Given that [the Trump Administration] has worked to reduce access to retirement plans…it is more critical than ever for Treasury to strengthen one of the remaining options for retirement savings”

Washington D.C. – Today, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and Richard Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urging him to maintain and promote as planned the myRA program. The myRA program is a starter retirement savings account for individuals who are otherwise unable to save for retirement because they are not covered by an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan and/or they do not have enough savings to meet the minimum balance required to open a private-sector individual retirement account (IRA). 

Democrats are concerned myRA is at risk following efforts by the Trump Administration to push Senate Republicans to thwart state and city-run retirement savings programs that would have benefited millions of people in Washington state and across the country.  

“Given that this Administration has worked to reduce access to retirement plans for millions of Americans, it is more critical than ever for the Treasury to strengthen one of their remaining options for retirement savings,” wrote the members to Secretary Mnuchin.

Last December, it was reported that the Treasury Department would do more to highlight myRA on government websites, as well as promote it through TurboTax in an effort to bolster the program’s enrollees. Democrats are calling on Secretary Mnuchin to execute these plans swiftly.

“As you are no doubt aware, 55 million Americans lack access to a workplace retirement plan,” concluded the members. “We urge you to execute these plans swiftly and demonstrate that this Administration is committed to helping hardworking families save for retirement.”

Full text of letter below and PDF can be found HERE.

July 14, 2017

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin

Secretary

Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Mnuchin,

We write today to encourage the Treasury Department to demonstrate its commitment to the myRA program.  As you are aware, myRA is a starter retirement savings account for individuals who are otherwise unable to save for retirement because they are not covered by an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or they do not have enough savings to meet the minimum balance required to open a private-sector individual retirement account (IRA).  Given that this Administration has worked to reduce access to retirement plans for millions of Americans, it is more critical than ever for the Treasury to strengthen one of their remaining options for retirement savings.

Earlier this year, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the reversal of two rules promulgated by the Department of Labor in 2016.  The rules were designed to provide certainty to states and certain political subdivisions regarding the establishment of retirement savings programs for private-sector workers who are not covered by employer-sponsored retirement plans.  Last week the Department of Labor published these rule reversals in the Federal Register.[1] We strongly disagree with these actions given that the country is in the midst of a retirement crisis. As you are no doubt aware, 55 million Americans lack access to a workplace retirement plan.[2]  Moreover, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that almost half of all households with Americans age 55 and older have no retirement savings.[3] 

Last December, it was reported that “[t]he Treasury Department said it will do more next year to highlight myRA on government websites, as well as promote it through TurboTax” in an effort to bolster the program’s enrollees.[4] We urge you to execute these plans swiftly and demonstrate that this Administration is committed to helping hardworking families save for retirement.

 


[1] Definition of Employee Pension Benefit Plan Under ERISA, 82 Fed. Reg. 29236 (June 28, 2017) (amending 29 C.F.R. § 2510).

[2] David John and Gary Koenig, “Workplace Retirement Plans Will Help Workers Build Economic Security,” AARP Public Policy Institute, October 2014, available at http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2014-10/aarp-workplace-retirement-plans-build-economic-security.pdf.

[3] U.S. Gen. Accountability Office, GAO-15-419, Most Households Approaching Retirement Have Low Savings (2015).

[4] Katie Lobosco, After one year, 20,000 people are saving for retirement with Obama’s myRA, Money, Dec. 16, 2016, http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/16/retirement/obama-myra-retirement-saving/index.html.