Lewis recounted that when the U.S. asked Pakistan how bin Laden could have been found so close to a key Pakistani military academy, Pakistani officials were angry about how the U.S. failed to notify them of the operation that resulted in bin Laden's death. He also noted that Pakistan has arrested some of the people who helped lead U.S. officials to bin Laden's hiding place.
"It is almost too much to take, and it's time that we made it clear to the Pakistanis that our friendship is at the breaking point," Lewis said. "For this reason, I am convinced that we must carefully scrutinize every dollar we're spending in Pakistan in this bill, and especially in the foreign operations appropriations bill."
Lewis was speaking in support of an amendment from Rep. Ted PoeTed PoeCameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Congress should stop government hacking and protect the Fourth Amendment MORE (R-Texas) that would eliminate $1 billion in spending on a Pakistan counterinsurgency fund. Poe's language would amend the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2012, and his proposal will be up for a vote on Thursday.
"I do want to serve notice that as we go forward, and I'm able to gather more information, I could very well be presenting a very similar amendment in the foreign operations bill," Lewis said of Poe's language. "It is high time that we get the answers that we seek here, and know really which friends are truly our friends."
Lewis is the second-ranking Republican on the House Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee.
Also on Wednesday, Poe proposed an amendment to the DOD spending bill that would eliminate $1 billion in funds that now go to reimburse Pakistan for global counterterrorism efforts. Poe has been critical of Pakistan since bin Laden's discovery in that country, and on Wednesday said the actions of the Pakistanis show they are not true allies.
"They're an unfaithful ally," he said. "We don't need to pay the Pakistan people to hate us. They'll do that on their own."
Reps. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the chair and ranking member of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, each said they oppose this language from Poe, but the full House will also have a vote on it Thursday.