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Bipartisan Duo: Use 'Queen of the Hill' for Highway Bill

Welch, D-Vt., is urging leadership to pass a longterm highway bill (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Remember when House Republican leaders solved their budget resolution woes by bringing a number of options to the floor under a quirky procedural maneuver  where "winner takes all?"  

A bipartisan duo is hopeful leaders will be amenable to employing the "Queen of the Hill" rule again later this summer, this time in the interest of passing a long-term highway bill. Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Reid Ribble, R-Wis., sent a letter Wednesday morning to Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asking for them to allow floor consideration of any number of legislative proposals to guarantee funding for nationwide transportation and infrastructure projects, with the proposal with the most votes forwarded to the Senate.  

Welch and Ribble are part of a growing number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who don't want another stopgap fix when the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money at the end of July. Members want certainty, but a solution is elusive with major disagreements over pay-fors and the role the federal government should play in state-specific infrastructure projects.  

In their letter Wednesday, the two lawmakers list a few bills introduced by their colleagues that could get the ball rolling, namely those sponsored by Reps. James B. Renacci, R-Ohio; Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; and John Delaney, D-Md.  

Here's their full memo, obtained by CQ Roll Call:

Dear Speaker Boehner & Leader Pelosi, By mid-summer, the Highway Trust Fund will be insolvent and our nation will again be left without a long term transportation plan. We all agree that America urgently needs a sustainably-funded, long term surface transportation bill. Many proposals have been introduced in the House that would provide sustainable transportation funding, including H.R. 1846, H.R. 680, and H.R. 625. Yet the House has not been given the opportunity to vote on any of them. It is time for the House to vote so that all Members can be held accountable by our constituents. We urge you to allow a vote on these proposals, and any alternatives that you choose, under a “Queen of the Hill” rule where the bill that receives the most number of votes is deemed to have passed by the House. This approach will ensure that the will of the House is adopted and predictability and certainty in our transportation program is restored. America needs a long-term surface transportation plan. It is the job of Congress to provide it. Sincerely, PETER WELCH REID RIBBLE 
 

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