Faced with mounting home foreclosures and job losses, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is under immense political and public pressure to provide relief and help turn around a faltering economy.
Bernanke was to visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday to give members of Congress' Joint Economic Committee an update on the country's economic situation. The Fed chief was expected to assure lawmakers that the central bank was prepared to keep on lowering a key interest rate and take any other actions that may be necessary to keep problems from spreading even more.
A trio of crises — housing, credit and financial — are threatening to push the country into a deep recession. The situation has emerged as a top concern for presidential contenders and a hot-button issue for Congress. It has thrust the White House and the Fed in crisis-management mode.