Bernanke’s testimony follows a torrent of bad economic news and bleak forecasts for the near future. The Dow Jones average was on pace Friday to drop about 500 points in September, and the Fed last month promised to maintain “exceptionally low” interest rates through 2013 in anticipation of a rocky economic road ahead.

In the meantime, Congress seems to be soundly rejecting the latest White House stimulus effort to create jobs and repair the economy.

The tide also seems to be turning against the Fed, as several Republican presidential candidates are pledging to either audit or abolish the Federal Reserve. Bernanke for his part on Wednesday recognized that the nation’s unemployment is a “national crisis.”

Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHouse GOP frets over Pennsylvania race Do the numbers add up for Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania? Poll: Five Senate Dems would lose to GOP challenger if elections held today MORE (D-Pa.) will preside over the hearing titled "The Economic Outlook," of which Bernanke is scheduled to be the only witness.

In other Senate committee hearings scheduled for next week:


Oct. 04, “Hearings to examine improving the budget process, focusing on strategies for more effective congressional budgeting”

9:30 a.m., 608 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Joint Economic Committee

Oct. 4, “Hearings to examine the economic outlook”

10 a.m., 216 Hart Senate Office Building

Indian Affairs

Oct. 06, “An oversight hearing to examine Internet infrastructure in native communities, focusing on equal access to e-commerce, jobs and the global marketplace”

2:15 p.m., 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building