Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, said Wednesday, April 14, that despite a mild recovery, America had to make “difficult choices” to control the deficit and warned that “postponing them will only make them more difficult.”

Testifying before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Bernanke said that drawing up a reasonable plan now for holding down deficits would keep interest rates low over the long term.

Bernanke said in written testimony, “Although sizable deficits are unavoidable in the near term, maintaining the confidence of the public and financial markets requires that policy makers move decisively to set the federal budget on a trajectory toward sustainable fiscal balance.”

Bernanke said that the recovery still had to deal with the 8.5 million jobs lost during the recession and that it would take “a significant amount of time” to re-employ them.

Read the full text of Bernanke’s testimony before Congress.

Read Bernanke’s comments on mortgage-backed securities from the archives of Investment Advisor.com.