Top lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are introducing legislation to permit U.S. arms to be sent directly to the Kurds fighting against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Republican Chairman Rep. Ed Royce of California and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the panel's top Democrat, said Thursday that regional forces that are being supported by U.S. coalition airstrikes are badly under-supplied.

Royce says that after months of fighting, the committee continues to get reports that Kurdish forces are outgunned. He says they have yet to receive the artillery, long-range mortars and anti-tank weaponry they have requested.

At Iraq's request, the U.S. began airstrikes in Tikrit on Wednesday in support of a stalled Iraqi ground offensive to retake the city from IS. Initially, Baghdad chose to partner with Iran.