According to USHistory.org, more than 90 percent of congressional bills die in committee. Each year, about 8,000 bills take this step towards becoming a law. Committees hold hearings and debate the merits of bills brought to them.
Four types of committees exist in each house of Congress. Standing committees are permanent, though their membership changes from Congress to Congress. Most bills are brought to standing committees, such as Education and the Workforce, Government Reform and Foreign Relations. A select committee has a temporary purpose and is seldom involved in reviewing a bill. It is typically charged with investigating a topic. Joint committees have members from both houses, and they consider legislation together. A conference committee is formed when each house has separate versions of a bill that need to be merged into one form.