Bernanke's comments came during a House Financial Services hearing on economic implications for unwinding Federal Reserve liquidity programs.
In one exchange with members, he predicted a bumpy road for lawmakers attempting to wrestle down the deficit.
"There's this tendency that nobody wants to cut [spending] and nobody wants to raise taxes," he said. "At some point, we're going to have to make some unattractive and tough decisions. And I don't envy members of Congress who have to grapple with this problem."