Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the emergency authority extended to the central bank helped it stem the banking panic and that strong actions by officials are needed to overcome financial crises. "Policymakers must respond forcefully, creatively and decisively to severe financial crises," Bernanke said. He didn't touch on proposals in Congress to rein in the Fed's emergency power, but he did say the programs helped "restore the flow of credit to American families and businesses."

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