Two pieces of news provide a flicker of hope amid the doom and gloom.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 -- Rep. John Delaney, D-Md. (6th CD), issued the following news release:
Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) spoke at a rally outside the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez to insure a competitive market and affordable Jewish funerals in Maryland and across the greater Washington area. The rally was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington. Sixth District residents have expressed worry that the merger would result in a reduction in the diversity of ownership of local funeral homes that offer death-care services in accordance with Jewish traditions, potentially leading to higher prices.
On Monday, Congressman Delaney called Chairwoman Ramirez, following up on a September 18 letter, concerning the merger and highlighted the possible impact amongst his constituents. Rep. Delaney asked that Chairwoman Ramirez consider the impact of the merger given the likely impacts on competitive pricing with respect to funeral services.
"Every family should be able to observe the funeral practices of their faith in an affordable manner. My constituents and friends in the Jewish community brought this issue to my attention and I share their concerns," said Congressman Delaney. "This really gets to the heart of our values as a society; namely, the ability of our communities to properly mourn in a dignified and respectful manner. I'm committed to working with them and then Federal Trade Commission to do everything we can to ensure affordable Jewish funerals. Coming from the private sector, I understand that fundamentally, we need to have a competitive free market."
A proposed merger between the two largest funeral services providers in the country, Service Corporation International (SCI) and Stewart Enterprises, has raised concerns about a lack of competition in the death services market. Under the merger, a contract between Hines Rinaldi, a Silver Spring funeral home that has an agreement with 48 local synagogues and is currently owned by Stewart Enterprises, would be in jeopardy. Local Jewish community leaders are calling upon Hines Rinaldi to be divested from the merger.
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