Six Months after Emergency Unemployment Benefits Expired, 2.9 Million Americans Left Behind

While the monthly jobs numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate official unemployment is gradually falling, there were still 9.8 million Americans out of work in April, of which 3.5 million were unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Americans are still hurting, and Congress needs to take action immediately.

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DATA Act Becomes Law, Increased Transparency on Federal Spending to Follow

On May 9, President Obama quietly signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) into law. Congress and open government advocates across the political spectrum worked for years to refine and pass the spending transparency legislation. The new law, if properly implemented, will be a big win for everyone.

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U.S. Defense Spending in Eight Charts

This week, the House is expected to debate and vote on the 2015 Defense Appropriations Act. On May 7, the House Armed Services Committee unanimously approved $496 billion in discretionary spending and $79.4 billion in war operations spending for the budget that starts Oct. 1. We explore how this stacks up against the rest of the world, who benefits most from defense spending, and what these funding levels mean for other national priorities.

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Spotlight on the CDC as Deadly Virus Emerges in U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently confirmed a second case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus on U.S. soil. Americans have turned once again to the agency to diagnose, treat, monitor, and prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

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The Bridge to Prosperity: Reverse Reckless Cuts, Restore Our Infrastructure, and Revive Jobs

The United States is facing a growing infrastructure crisis and a lingering jobs crisis. Most of America’s infrastructure was built in the decades directly after World War II. Each day in America, more than 700 water mains break. Seventeen percent of water pumped by municipal pumping stations never reaches consumers’ faucets – a waste of 2.4 trillion gallons of precious water each year. Potholes on the nation’s roads cost the average family $355 in additional car repairs annually, deficient roads and bridges will cost businesses an estimated $43 billion a year in transportation delays and shipment rerouting, and too many children attend schools with leaky roofs, rattling windows, and decrepit plumbing.

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Is California Keeping People Safe at Work? Labor Advocates Say No

by Elizabeth Grossman (originally posted on The Pump Handle on May 14, 2014)

In 2012, the most recent year for which US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures are available, 375 people died on the job in California  – an average occupational fatality rate of more than one person every day. At the same time, research by Worksafe and other California labor advocates shows that while California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years, the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. 

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Close Loopholes, Fix Potholes

America has an infrastructure crisis.

We see signs of it every day: We hit bone-jarring potholes as we drive. We face long detours as bridges are closed for emergency repairs. When water mains break, businesses must temporarily close and homeowners have to boil their water. Too many of our kids attend schools that have leaky roofs and rattling windows.

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Unemployed Americans Kicked Out of Capitol, Forced to Share Their Stories Outside

Six hard-working Americans joined House Democrats gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon to share stories of their struggle to find employment in a rough job market. The event, which was scheduled to take place inside the Capitol as a hearing, was abruptly cancelled by House Republican leadership. This forced the unemployed workers and dozens of supporters to relocate the event at the last moment.

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Western Land Rights Enter Spotlight after Amateur Pundit’s Celebrity

Approximately 245 million acres of land in the United States is publicly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Close to two-thirds of that land, 155 million acres, is used for livestock grazing, based on permits and leases issued by the BLM.

A small fee, as well as the current system of permits and leases, helps protect American land from overuse, overgrazing, pollution, and helps ensure its continued viability for future generations.

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