Washington, D.C. may soon hold a vote on upping the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Councilmember Vincent Orange, who chairs the committee that is considering four competing minimum wage options, told the AP that he planned to merge the competing proposals into one bill. Orange supports a $12.50 minimum wage, but says he believes an $11.50 raise would receive broader support.
"I'm a team player. The consensus is, why don't we all do $11.50," Orange said. "I am working to build consensus for a minimum wage of $11.50."
Orange's proposal would increase the minimum wage to $9.50 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in July 2015 and $11.50 in July 2016. Increases beyond 2016 would be tied to the Consumer Price Index, so as to keep up with inflation.
Mayor Vincent Gray has said the city needs a higher minimum wage, but he hasn't committed to a number. His administration plans to hire an outside consultant to study the issue for 120 days, at a cost of no more than $200,000.
"This debate is broader than just the minimum wage," said Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for the mayor. "Settling on a number and walking away from it is really not the solution here."
Some advocates for low-wage workers believe that the district should continue to push for a $12.50 minimum wage, and they plan to try to put an initiative on the November 2014 ballot that would accomplish that goal. Elissa Silverman, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which has advocated for the $12.50 wage, said the ballot initiative would push the council to follow through on its promises.
Orange said he hopes his committee will send the wage bill to the full council before Thanksgiving, which means it could be voted on by the full council as early as Dec. 3.