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Focus Shifts To D.C. Council For Vote To Override Gray's Veto Of Living Wage Bill

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The D.C. Council will vote on an override of Mayor Gray's veto of a so-called living wage bill next Tuesday.
Larry Miller: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drmillerlg/1246397248/
The D.C. Council will vote on an override of Mayor Gray's veto of a so-called living wage bill next Tuesday.

After Mayor Vincent Gray's veto of the so-called living wage bill, the spotlight now turns to D.C. Council, which will vote next Tuesday on a possible override of Gray's veto.

Eight council members voted to approve the bill in July, and nine will be needed to override a mayoral veto. So far, not a single Council member has said he or she would be willing to change their vote, but heavy lobbying from both sides is expected to continue ahead of next week's vote.

Walmart officials say that if the mayor's veto is upheld, it will proceed with the six stores it has planned for D.C.; if the bill becomes law, though, the threat to yank three of those stores will become a reality.

According to one group backing the bill, which would require Walmart and certain other large retailers to pay employees $12.50 an hour, the debate over what constitutes a fair minimum wage won't end regardless of how the override vote comes out.

"Even after Tuesday, regardless of what happens with this bill, all workers in the District need a raise and there's lots of opportunities that will be coming up to get them one," says Mike Wilson of Respect D.C., a labor group supporting the bill.

Gray and several Council members have hinted at an across-the-board living wage bill, but so far nothing has been introduced. Only Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) has floated a possible increase of the city's minimum wage to $10 an hour.

On Tuesday, though, the focus will be on the mayoral veto—and the razor thin margin that exists between it remaining in place and it being overridden.

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