NFDA, CANA & NFD&MA Reach Historic Agreement to Lobby Congress Together in 2010

Advocacy Summit, Washington DC

Advocacy Summit, Washington DC

On November 18, 2009, representatives of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) and the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association (NFD&MA) met in the nation’s capital to establish a unified position on key federal issues that will serve as the focus of joint congressional visits during NFDA’s annual Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., this year.

Skip Mikell, chair of the NFD&MA Legislative Committee, facilitated the daylong meeting, during which the group identified more than 15 issues facing funeral service at the federal and/or state levels. After unanimous agreement on the top-five critical federal issues facing the funeral service profession, the three associations prioritized those according to importance and relevance to current congressional activities: Codification of the Supplemental Security Income/Medicaid funeral/burial exclusion; the Bereaved Consumer Bill of Rights Act of 2009; reform of the federal estate tax; affordable healthcare; and a tax deduction for indigent funeral/burial costs.

NFDA, CANA and NFD&MA representatives also agreed that focusing on a maximum of three issues would prove most effective during the upcoming joint congressional visits. Recognizing that the current session of Congress might also complete some of these issues, the group will therefore determine which three top issues their collective members will discuss with their elected officials closer to the Advocacy Summit in March 2010.

In advance of NFDA’s Advocacy Summit, March 8-10, the three associations will coordinate and set up state-based delegations across their respective memberships and schedule meetings with members of Congress. Thus, for the first time, members of three national funeral service associations will lobby members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate together and provide a powerful, unified voice on the key issues impacting funeral service.

CANA President Bill McQueen, CFSP, said: “The Cremation Association of North America is pleased to participate in the NFDA Advocacy Summit and to work with NFDA and NFD&MA to develop a united voice on issues before the funeral service industry. Coordinating our positions on legislative and regulatory issues serves the industry and the public.”

Skip Mikell, chair of the NFD&MA Legislative Committee, said: “The NFDA Advocacy Summit provides an opportunity to see, firsthand, how our national government works and have a chance to participate in the process. This year, the attendees will represent the united voice of funeral service in America.”

Attendees at the November 18 meeting included: (from NFDA) President William Wappner, President-elect Patrick Lynch, Advocacy Committee Chair Pat Lanigan, CEO Christine Pepper, Senior Vice-President – Advocacy John Fitch and Director of Political Affairs Lesley Witter; (from CANA) Executive Director John Ross; and (from NFD&MA) President Ernest Adams; Legislative Chair Skip Mikell and Billie Watson Hughes.

For more information about NFDA’s 2010 Advocacy Summit or to register, please visit or call 800-228-6332.

NFDA is the world’s leading funeral service association, serving 19,000 individual members who represent more than 10,200 funeral homes in the United States and internationally. From its headquarters in Brookfield, Wis., and its Advocacy Division office in Washington, D.C., NFDA informs, educates and advocates to help members enhance the quality of service they provide to families. For more information, visit

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