The 6-4 vote with three abstentions -- handed Mayor Anthony Williams a major victory after weeks of acrimonious debate over the construction of a new stadium for the Washington Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos.
The vote came after more than seven hours of tense debate. A mandatory second vote is slated for Dec. 14 and will be preceded by more debate and revisions to the bill.
"This is a very gratifying day. The council has done a great thing for our city. We're still not completely there yet, but we're now gaining significant momentum," Williams said.
To win the council's approval, Williams promised to open talks with Major League Baseball about revising the relocation agreement. Williams said strengthening community benefits supplied by the team and finding a way to cap the city's investment in the proposed $435.2 million ballpark top his wish list.