) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke believes that a full economic recovery in the U.S. could be four or five years away.

While Bernanke says there is evidence that a "self sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold," he believes it may take "four to five more years for the job market to normalize fully."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

"Real consumer spending rose at an annual rate of 2.5% in the third quarter of 2010, and the available indicators suggest that it likely expanded at a somewhat faster pace in the fourth quarter," Bernanke said in a prepared testimony to the Senate Budget Committee.

However, he pointed out that the housing sector "remains depressed" and the labor market has improved "only modestly at best."

Bernanke is making his first appearance before the 112th Congress today to face questions on whether the Fed's plan to inject $600 billion into the U.S. economy through a quantitative easing monetary policy is the best way to stimulate economic activity. The Federal Reserve is looking to buy an additional $600 billion in Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011.

The plan is facing some opposition from many House Republicans. Major resistance could greatly limit the plan's impact.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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