But others are fighting to keep the tariffs in place. New Balance, the Boston-based athletic shoe maker, wants to maintain tariffs on shoes from Vietnam in order to protect the jobs of 1,350 New Balance workers who make footwear in the United States. A quarter of the shoes the company sells in North America are made in its U.S. manufacturing facilities.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership “represents a major potential problem for our ability to make shoes here,” said New Balance spokesman Matt LeBretton. “We’re the last company to still make athletic shoes in this country ... Our chief concern is Vietnam, the fastest-growing producer of footwear. They’re already winning in the footwear space. They don’t need additional market access.”
Freedom to Marry Action, the marriage equality group based in New York, hired Holland & Knight this month to lobby for legislation that would grant same-sex couples the same benefits of marriage under federal law as heterosexual couples.
The group has worked with Holland & Knight lobbyist
for the past two years, said Jo Deutsch, director of federal relations for Freedom to Marry. But because they worked with Lehman through a separate consulting firm they no longer contract with, the registration was not listed in Senate records until this month, when Freedom to Marry hired Lehman directly.
Freedom to Marry is pushing for the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was introduced in the House and Senate in the last Congress but did not pass. The legislation, which is expected to be re-introduced in the current Congress by its previous sponsors — Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman.
Deutsch said Lehman’s standing as a Republican lobbyist, paired with her own background on the Democratic side, would make the effort more bipartisan.
“Working together, we could talk to a lot more Congress members,” Deutsch said. “We have really worked on a very solid bipartisan lobbying effort to repeal DOMA and pass the Respect For Marriage Act.”