Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. (Photo: AP) Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. (Photo: AP)

Leading Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee released legislation Thursday that restores former President Barack Obama’s myRA program, which was eliminated by the Trump administration last year.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore. along with Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said the Encouraging Americans to Save Act is intended to help more working families and middle-class Americans save for retirement.

“Instead of supporting retirement programs and incentives to lift up workers, Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration continue to use the tax code as a way to benefit those who need it least,” said Wyden in a statement. “It’s a double whammy that’s fueling the country’s retirement crisis. My legislation aims to level the playing field and create an opportunity to help working families save.”

The Treasury Department announced last July that it was winding down the myRA, the retirement savings program launched by the Obama administration in 2014, after a “thorough review” by Treasury found the program was not cost effective.

Demand for and investment in the myRA program had been “extremely low,” Treasury said then, and had cost $70 million to manage since 2014. Participants in the program had contributed $34 million to their accounts, Treasury reported.

The Encouraging Americans to Save Act restructures 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, the senators explained.

The bill would also make the full 50% saver’s credit rate available to taxpayers making up to $32,000 a year and require that credit be directly contributed into the saver’s retirement plan or IRA.

— Check out What’s the Key to a Better Retirement? Have a ‘Planning Mindset’ Now on ThinkAdvisor.