In October, we told you that Congress passed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would fund activities at the Defense Department. Unfortunately, President Obama vetoed the bill, negating an important provision that would help military working dogs.
The Military Working Dogs Act of 2015, which was contained within the NDAA, included language that mandated military working dogs be returned to U.S. soil upon retirement and that their human handlers be given first right of adoption. It is often common for a military dog to be retired at its last assignment, meaning that service members who wished to keep the dog would have to pay the costs associated with transporting him or her back to the United States. This bill would have put the onus on the federal government to pay those transportation costs, giving the dogs a new lease on life.
The president vetoed the bill because he felt that the spending levels for the DOD were far lower than the White House requested and his veto sent the bill back to square one in Congress.
Congress had the option to override the president’s veto, but given that the budget deal formulated a few weeks ago between the White House and Congress resolved a lot of the president’s objections to the defense bill, both chambers easily passed a vote on the bill once again in early November. The NDAA now goes back to the president’s desk for a second time for final signature before becoming law.