An effort to require Wal-Mart and other large retailers to pay their employees a “living wage” of at least $12.50 an hour met its end Tuesday when the D.C. Council failed to override Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto.

The bill put Washington at the center of a national debate over compensation for low-wage workers — and whether some large companies should be required to pay more. Supporters said Wal-Mart can afford to pay higher wages, while opponents said the bill unfairly singled out certain businesses and would have a chilling effect on economic development.

The council voted 7-6 to override the veto, falling two votes short of the required two-thirds majority. The bill was approved in July by an 8-5 vote. Councilmember Anita Bonds, who earlier voted for the bill, voted against the override.