CHICAGO – Hillary Clinton on Thursday denounced the deep federal spending cuts known as the sequester for dangerously hindering scientific research, and she urged “citizen action” to raise awareness about the consequences.

Addressing a charity benefit dinner in Chicago for Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, the former secretary of state made a rare foray into the budget battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years. She said the estimated $1.7 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health budget would result in 2,000 fewer research grants, and she warned that thousands of scientists and research staffers likely would lose their jobs.