House to get first crack at Hagel on budget

The aide said the House gets the first chance to question Hagel this year because the two committees alternate, and the Senate had the first budget hearing with then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Dempsey in 2012.

A House Armed Services aide said the House hearing had been planned for next Wednesday, one day before the Senate's, as the president's budget is typically released on a Monday. But last week the White House announced the budget would be released on Wednesday, April 10, and not Monday, April 8, making a Wednesday hearing impossible. 

Next week's hearing with Hagel will take on added significance as it will be his first time appearing before Congress since he went through a contentious confirmation process — and a difficult confirmation hearing — earlier this year.

Both of the panels’ hearings will be taking place two months later this year, as the president’s budget request is being submitted to Congress more than two months late.

The Defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs typically start the budget posture hearings for the four defense committees. This year, however, the Armed Services panels have started instead with the combatant commanders in order to deal with the late budget.

— This story was updated at 3:09 p.m.