Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday urged bold government action to pull the economy out of a deepening slump, even if it means a surge in federal debt.

The alternative could be a prolonged episode of economic stagnation that would not only contribute to further deterioration in the fiscal situation, but would also imply lower output, employment, and incomes for an extended period, he said.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Andrea Ricci)