A D.C. Council committee has unanimously approved a bill that would raise the city's minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, one of the nation's highest, by 2016.
The committee voted 6-0 Monday to send the bill to the full council, which could take the first of two votes as early as December.
"I think that everyone knows that living on $8.25 an hour, the current miniumum wage is just impossible in this city," Elissa Silverman, who works for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute told News4. The advocacy group is working to raise the minimum wage.
Councilmember Vincent Orange says he believes he has a veto-proof majority of nine of the 13 councilmembers backing his minimum wage proposal.
"Right now, council is ready to move forward [as are] the citizens of the District of Columbia," Orange said. "Now is the time, not tomorrow."
If the proposal is passed, minimum wage would rise to $9.50 per hour next summer, $10.50 in 2015 and finally would rise to $11.50 in 2016, indexed to inflation.
Mayor Vincent Gray said he supports a raise in minimum wage to $10 an hour, but is concerned that a larger increase would hurt the job market. He's planning to hire a consultant to study the issue.
"Lots of people want to open businesses in the city right now and we need to make sure we can be a place that encourages buisness in the city," Gray said.
Neighboring Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland are also exploring raising their minimum wages.
San Francisco has the nation's highest minimum wage at $10.74 an hour.
MORE ON NBCWashington.com:
- Mayor Gray Proposes $10 Minimum Wage
- Activists Push for $12.50 Minimum Wage in D.C.
- D.C. to Push for $11.50 Minimum Wage
- Morning Read: Gray Supports Minimum Wage Increase -- With or Without Federal Change