Bush: Bail Out Economy, or Face 'Long and Painful Recession'

Both men have insisted that Congress must approve the plan quickly, but mindful of the hostility they encountered in the Senate Tuesday, Bernanke suggested that the mortgage-backed securities bought with taxpayer money will likely gain some of their value back.

"$700 billion is an extraordinary amount of money, but it is not an expenditure. It is an acquisition of assets." Bernanke said, arguing even though the assets are currently considered toxic, they will gain value as the economy recovers.

"If if there is a loss it will be far less, some percentage of that," he said.

Bernanke stressed the perilous situation of the nation's economy, which is facing the biggest financial turmoil since the Great Depression.

"Stabilization of our financial system is an essential precondition for economic recovery," he said.

ABC News' Jennifer Parker contributed to this report.

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