ADA — U.S. Rep. Tom Cole was in the Ada area last week, and during his visit, he noted some of the positive aspects that Congress contributed during 2005.

"If you ask the average person on the street, 'What did Congress do last year?,’ they would usually say, 'Well I'm not sure they did very much. Social Security didn't work out, the budget deficit is too high,' all of that is true as far as it goes, but if you really look at the year legislatively, it was probably the best year in a decade," Cole said. "Bankruptcy reform passed early in the year-we've been trying to do that for eight years-class-action lawsuit reform passed. That was a six to eight year struggle to get that through."

The Bankruptcy reform bill was passed April 14, 2005, by a vote of 302-126.

"It goes from being the abuse system for those hiding from debt to its original intention: a program that helps those in real financial straits manage their bills,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert said of the bill back in 2005. “This action restores integrity in the system. It makes it harder for those who want to use bankruptcy as a scapegoat to avoid debts.”

The Class-Action lawsuit reform was passed on Feb. 17, 2005. It prevents state courts from hearing large multi-state class action lawsuits. Those courts are known for granting multimillion dollar verdicts, such as lawsuits against Big Tobacco.

"In July, we had the Highway bill, which was a huge deal for us in Oklahoma,” Cole said.

It's the first time we're going to be a donee state rather than a donor state," he said.

The Highway bill was passed by Congress on July 29 of last year and sent roughly $300 billion to states to repair and create roads, produce new jobs, save lives and cut hours wasted in traffic jams.

"The energy bill, while it was a decade too late, it got through, it got done, it was signed into law.” Cole said.

Cole also mentioned the slight decline in Medicare.

“In December, we passed the first entitlement reform that's been passed since 1997,” he said. “We slowed the growth of Medicare from 7.4 to 7.3 percent a year. It's not a backbreaking cut, but it's 50 billion dollars in savings."

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