WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has approved bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing premium increases that some smaller businesses were expecting next year under President Barack Obama's health care law.

WASHINGTON (AP) Congress has approved bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing premium increases that some smaller businesses were expecting next year under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Currently, the health law defines small businesses as those having up to 50 employees. That number expands on Jan. 1 to 100.

Under the law, companies considered small businesses must offer certain required benefits. Business groups complained that that would increase many employers' health care costs.

The bill approved Thursday would keep the small business definition at 50 workers but let states increase the number if they choose.

The Senate sent the bill to Obama for his expected signature by a voice vote. It was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.