Several members of the House have asked its leadership to invoke an unusual rule known as "Queen of the Hill" in an effort to get the House to pass a long-term transport spending bill.
Under Queen of the Hill, each funding bill that's been introduced is put before the House for a vote, with the bill receiving the most votes deemed as the formal position of the chamber. The request to adopt the seldom-used tactic came from Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). It has bipartisan support among other House members.
In a July 8 letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Reps. Welch and Ribble said the approach will "ensure that the will of the House is adopted" and a transport spending bill is passed. The House Rules Committee must approve the procedure. However, the House leadership can effectively dictate that the committee takes such action. "Queen of the Hill" was used in March by the House to pass a budget bill.
Congress is approaching a July 31 deadline to either pass transport funding legislation or approve another extension of the 2012 law that called for spending $109 billion over 30 months to fund the nation's road and transit programs. The current extension, approved May 15, is the second since the law was set to expire last September 30.
Projects are paid for from the Highway Trust Fund, which is supported by federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel use. Motor fuels taxes haven't been increased since 1993, and Paul Ryan, (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said this week that there are no plans to raise fuels taxes.