The chairman of the House Budget Committee Wednesday joined the growing congressional chorus complaining that financial contributions from U.S. war allies are falling far short of promised amounts.

"We ought to collect every bit of that money," said Rep. Leon Panetta, D-Calif.He said that with American troops doing most of the fighting against Iraq, "those countries whose interests are also being protected and whose economies are at least as strong as ours should be paying their fair share."

Panetta's comments came as the committee examined President Bush's request for $15 billion in taxpayer money to begin financing the Persian Gulf war. As part of that request, the administration wants authority to spend all of the $53.5 billion pledged in support by allied countries. So far just $14.9 billion of that amount has been delivered.

The Senate Appropriations Committee grilled administration officials on the plan Tuesday.