WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday warned policymakers not to delay taking steps to avert a fiscal shock that would cause the economy to fall back into recession.

"Continuing to push off difficult policy choices will only prolong and intensify these uncertainties," said Bernanke, in a speech before the New York Economic Club. "Uncertainty about how the fiscal cliff, the raising of the debt limit, and the longer-term budget situation will be addressed appears already to be affecting private spending and investment decisions and may be contributing to an increased sense of caution in financial markets, with adverse effects on the economy."

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