D.C. draws Wal-Mart into Democrats’ political battle over wages

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“At some point, Wal-Mart will have nowhere else to grow but into large urban markets,” said Matt Bruenig, an analyst at Demos. “Unless it intends to leave those markets alone altogether, which seems unlikely, it will eventually have to give in to whatever D.C. or the other major cities require of them.”

But Wal-Mart’s defenders say the District and its most needy citizens are the ones who will miss out the most on the opportunity for growth and jobs if the council prevails and Wal-Mart pulls out of the city.

Chicago is a great example of the positive impact economic development can have in a community when local lawmakers let free-market forces work,” said Tom Donahue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noting that Wal-Mart has created 1,500 jobs in its Chicago stores after overcoming opposition there, and it had hoped to create even more in the District. “Let’s hope Washington doesn’t become a cautionary tale,” he said.

Casey Mutchler contributed to this report.

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