Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress today not to “impede the ongoing economic recovery” by cutting spending too sharply. Testifying before the Joint Economic Committee, Bernanke said, “State and local governments continue to tighten their belts by cutting spending and employment in the face of ongoing budgetary pressures, while the future course of federal fiscal policies remains quite uncertain," He further said that the U.S. economy’s recovery from the economic collapse “has been much less robust than we had hoped. ”In addition to a projected slower pace of economic growth, Bernanke also had less than encouraging news on the jobs front, saying that initial jobless claims and surveys of hiring plans “point to the likelihood of more sluggish job growth.”The Fed will consider further action if the economy continues on a downward path, Bernanke told the committee. He argued that the partisan debates over the U.S. economy and the ongoing European debt crisis were factors in the sluggish recovery. Other factors included the long-lasting impact of the earthquake in Japan, the still-depressed housing market, and the job market that has shaken consumer confidence.