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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Members of the state’s congressional delegation want the federal tobacco program protected from expected budget cuts.

WRAL-TV reported that key members of the state’s delegation are asking the US Agriculture Department not to include federal payments to tobacco farmers in a part of the budget subject to the next round of across-the-board cuts.

The next round of sequestration is to take effect Jan. 15 unless Congress comes up with a new budget.

US Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and US Reps. Mike McIntyre, Renee Ellmers and Richard Hudson say the tobacco program should be exempt from the cuts.

A settlement reached with tobacco farmers in 2004 calls for payments to growers through next year.

North Carolina farmers are supposed to get the largest payment next year.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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