WASHINGTON (AP) — The D.C. Council could vote as early as December on a bill that would raise the city's minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by July 2016, one of the nation's highest, according to a key councilmember.

Councilmember Vincent Orange told The Associated Press in an interview that he will propose the same minimum wage being considered in neighboring Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. Orange chairs the committee that is considering four competing minimum wage proposals, and he plans to combine those into a single bill.

Orange, a Democrat who is one of four councilmembers running for mayor, said he would prefer a minimum wage of $12.50 an hour, but he thinks the $11.50 proposal will have broader support on the overwhelmingly Democratic council.

Orange was a lead sponsor of a bill that would have forced Wal-Mart and other large retailers to pay their employees a "living wage" of at least $12.50. The council approved that bill, but Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed it, calling it a "job killer" after Wal-Mart said it would abandon plans to build three of six proposed stores in the city.

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