Bills would halt health law's employer mandate

"Instead of letting the federal government dictate how employers should allocate resources, let's repeal this job-killing mandate and let businesses get back in the business of hiring," Hatch said.

The employer mandate requires that companies of 50 or more workers provide health insurance or pay fines if more than 30 employees receive government assistance to buy coverage.

The health offerings must be affordable, and they must include a variety of "essential health benefits."

Since 2010, several major firms have threatened to cut employee hours over the requirement. Some, like the company that runs Olive Garden and Red Lobster, backtracked after intense criticism.

The Internal Revenue Service has already started to implement the rule in anticipation of next year, when penalties will begin.

Thursday's bill came from Hatch; Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Overnight Healthcare: New GOP health bill on life support | ObamaCare insurer threatens to leave over subsidies Trump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee MORE (R-Tenn.); and Reps. Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyDemocrats, Republicans must work together to advance health care Lobbying World Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel MORE (R-La.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and John BarrowJohn BarrowOur democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech MORE (D-Ga.).