The National Funeral Directors Association, the world’s largest trade association representing the funeral services industry, has tapped Burson-Marsteller’s Prime Policy Group lobbying unit to advocate on behalf of veterans’ issues on Capitol Hill.

NFDA

NFDA has engaged the WPP unit in response to H.R. 1212, or the Burial Rights for America's Veterans' Efforts Act of 2017, which mandates an increase in the amounts payable through the Department of Veterans Affairs for certain veteran burial and funeral expenses, particularly expenses connected to a veteran’s death due to a service-related disability.

The bill was introduced in February by Duncan Hunter (R-CA). A companion bill, S. 1596, sponsored by Gary Peters (D-MI), was introduced in the Senate in July.

Founded in 1882, NFDA represents nearly 10,000 funeral homes in 44 countries. The Brookfield, WI-based nonprofit maintains a government relations office in Washington, D.C.

The funeral trade group earlier this year also retained Capitol Hill Consulting Group for D.C. lobbying in response to the BRAVE Act, according to lobbying registration documents filed in April.

And in July, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, a global trade association representing the cemetery, funeral, cremation and memorization profession, hired national law firm Dykema to advocate its support of the bill.

A three-person team at PPG handles the NFDA account: Mitch Vakerics, former legislative director to Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and legislative assistant to Tim Murphy (R-PA); Rich Meade, who was previously aide to former GOP House Budget Committee chairman Jim Nussle; and Vickie Walling, former chief of staff to Rep. John Tanner (D-TN).