GOP senator: Forcing food workers to wash hands in bathroom not necessary

Courtesy of Tillis for Congress

A freshman GOP senator argued this week that the government should not require food workers to wash their hands after using the toilet, saying "the market will take care of that."

Sen. Thom TillisThom R. TillisPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? MORE (R-N.C.) called routine hygiene rules an example of government overreach at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center on Monday.

"I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says, 'We don't require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,' " Tillis said to audience laughter in a clip captured by C-SPAN.

"That's probably one where every business that did that would go out of business," he conceded, "but I think it's good to illustrate the point, that that's the kind of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country."

Tillis's remark comes as the Republican lawmakers grapple with the mounting debate over another public health issue — childhood vaccination.

While Tillis was not asked about the matter, his colleague Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said repeatedly on Monday that most vaccines should be voluntary.

"I'm not arguing vaccines are a bad idea," Paul told CNBC. "I think they are a good thing, but I think the parent should have some input."

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP lawmakers have urged parents to vaccinate their children, a sign of an emerging rift in the Republican Party on the issue.