Nature has a scary story about the impact of sequester on research labs. This paragraph sums up the situation:
The NIH for example, faces a US$1.5-billion budget cut over fiscal year (FY) 2012–13, which it says will result in the funding of some 700 fewer competitive research projects and the admission of 750 fewer new patients to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda. The US Department of Defense and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) each expects to offer 1,000 fewer grants, and the US Geological Survey has slashed its competitive-grants programme in water research to protect funding for key monitoring networks.
They go on to quote Joseph Haywood, vice-president for science policy with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Washington DC saying that he could foresee 8% year-over-year decreases for the next nine years.
The NIH is the major source of funding for most biomedical research working toward new disease therapies–stem cell or otherwise. CIRM is funding important research in California (here’s the full list of awards), but these scientists can’t keep their full labs running on CIRM funding alone. A slowdown now could mean fewer trained people in the field ten years from now, and fewer therapies reaching patients.