Congressional Republicans are challenging several health regulations, with one senator suggesting restaurants shouldn't have to make their employees wash their hands after bathroom visits.

Such restaurants would have to prominently disclose their decision, and then would probably would go out of business, said newly elected GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. But they should have that choice, he said.

Tillis raised the issue when speaking Monday to the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Restaurant chains such as Starbucks should be able to skip obligatory hand-washing by workers, he said, "as long as they post a sign" and take other steps to alert the public.

"Let them decide" such issues, Tillis said, adding: "That's probably one where every business that did that would go out of business. But I think it's good to illustrate the point, that that's the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country."

Tillis defended his point in an interview Tuesday in the Capitol.

"Sometimes there are regulations that maybe we want to set a direction, but then let those who are regulated decide whether or not it makes sense," he said. They might pay a huge price, he said, but "they get to make that decision versus government."

Tillis' comments came as some Republican presidential hopefuls say parents are justified in sometimes having their children avoid vaccinations generally required for attending school.

Vaccinations were not raised at his Monday event. But Tillis said Tuesday, "Vaccinations are important to keeping our kids safe, keeping our schools safe."

Tillis, former speaker of the North Carolina House, ousted Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November. He played a key role in reducing state taxes and regulations in the state after Republicans took control of the government.