Hillary Clinton blasts impact of sequester on research

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative on June 13, 2013 in Chicago.
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Months after the sequester officially kicked in, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of potentially nefarious impacts the across-the-board budget cuts could have on scientific research in America, and urged "citizen action" to push for continued funding.

Clinton, speaking Thursday at a charity event benefiting epilepsy research in Chicago, argued that the $1.7 billion worth of sequester-related cuts to the National Institute of Health (NIH) would lead to 2,000 fewer research grants and potentially thousands of layoffs, according to the Washington Post.

"In the days and months ahead, all of us who care deeply about finding a cure for [epilepsy] and other diseases need to be very loud and passionate about the continued research funding that is necessary," Clinton said, per the Post. "I do think there has to be a greater awareness on the part of the American people about what this will mean - not just today or next week, but in years to come."

She added that she "would certainly encourage a lot of citizen action to bring attention to the cuts in research funding and the consequences that that will cause."

Sequestration kicked in last March, causing $85 billion worth of cuts in the remainder of 2013, part of a 10-year plan to cut $1.2 trillion. The overall impact of these budget cuts will not be easy to pin down immediately, but among the first consequences include layoffs, hiring freezes, and widespread employee furloughs.

Clinton is believed to be a top potential candidate for the 2016 presidential race , though she has made no statement about her possible future political plans. She did, however, announce that she will be more involved with the Clinton Global Initiative - which was recently renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

"What I think we have to be about is working together, overcoming the lines that divide us, this partisan, cultural, geographic (divide). Building on what we know works, we can take on any challenge we confront," Clinton said Thursday.