Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the economy is suffering through a "severe contraction" and pledged to use all available tools to lift the country out of the recession that already has cost millions of Americans their jobs.
In testimony prepared for the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke says the economy is likely to keep shrinking in the first six months of this year.
Housing, credit and financial crises -- the worst since the 1930s -- plunged the economy into its worst downhill slide in a quarter-century at the end of last year.
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