(Gray News) – A trio of state lawmakers in West Virginia are proposing to use $10 million from the state’s budget surplus to put toward a border wall.
Carl Martin, Patrick Martin and Caleb Hanna, all Republicans in the West Virginia House of Delegates, announced the plan on Fox News on Tuesday.
”I am happy to co-sponsor a piece of legislation that I don’t think just West Virginia will be happy about, but the American people as a whole," Hanna said on Fox.
West Virginia currently has a surplus of $200 million, and it’s expected to grow further, WSAZ reported.
Hanna, a 19-year-old college student considered the youngest black legislator in the U.S., linked his support for the proposal to the opioid crisis, saying drugs have reached West Virginia – particularly hard-hit by the crisis – from the southern border.
“The wall is a crucial part in addressing West Virginia’s drug problem,” he said.
He added that he thought the bill had a strong chance of passage in the state’s House.
“The West Virginia Republican majority in the House has been very supportive of President Trump and his efforts to secure the southern border,” he said.
The president has sought more than $5 billion for a wall from Congress.
Democrats have said the crisis at the border is manufactured, and have rejected legislation that would fund a wall.
The impasse has resulted in a shutdown of nine federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border operations, since Dec. 22.
West Virginia’s people, Delegate Carl Martin said in a release, are “sick of seeing Washington politicians sit on their hands while drugs and criminals pour over our border.”
The delegates’ release said their proposal is in the process of being drafted and would be introduced in the state legislature “in the coming days.”