The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, again strongly urged Congress on Tuesday to ward off the sudden and severe combination of tax increases and federal spending cuts coming at the end of the year.

“Uncertainties about the situation in Europe and especially about the prospects for federal fiscal policy seem to be weighing on the spending decisions of households and businesses as well as on financial conditions,” Bernanke said in a speech at the New York Economic Club. “Such uncertainties will only be increased by discord and delay.”