How does Congress make laws? (continued)
After a Member introduces a bill and it is given a number (for example, HR 238), it must survive two basic stages to be approved by the House of Representatives. The first takes place when the Speaker of the House refers the bill to the committee that works on that issue. The committee refers the bill to one of its subcommittees, which researches the bill and holds hearings on it. Subcommittee hearings provide opportunities for those on both sides of the issue to voice their opinions. If the subcommittee votes in favor of the bill, the full committee votes and either rejects the bill or sends it to the House floor. Most bills never make it past this stage. The second stage takes place with all members of the House, on the House floor. There, the bill is debated and members offer changes, or amendments. Finally, the full House votes on the bill.