Bernanke: 'Oil Prices a Threat to Recovery'

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The upheaval in Libya and across the Middle East is reaching all the way around the world, sending gas prices soaring. Those conflicts combined with already high food prices has added to the financial burden of many Americans.

As some tighten their belts, they've called on the federal government to do the same.

Shukri Ghanem, Libya's oil chief, said its country's production has been cut in half, sending the price of oil above $100 a barrel and American gas prices rising up 20 cents a gallon.

"We could see gasoline between $4.00 and $5.00 a gallon by Memorial Day, maybe sooner," said David Kotok, Chief Investment Office of Cumberland Advisors.

In Washington, D.C., Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says economic recovery is speeding up, but higher oil prices could definitely be a threat.

"Sustained rises in the prices of oil or other commodities would represent a threat both to economic growth and to overall price stability," Bernanke said.

Americans are already pinching pennies as America's food prices rise -- the fastest they have since 2008.

As some consumers limit their spending, state governments have struggled to reign in their budgets.

In the latest fight on spending cuts and the looming federal government shutdown, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to cut federal spending by $4 billion and keep the government running until March 18.

By then, lawmakers hope to have a long-term compromise with the White House.

"The American people want us to get our fiscal house in order," said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. "And this is a step in the right direction. If American families can do with less, there's no reason why the government can't do with less."

The results of Tuesday's House vote on the short-term spending plan was 335 to 91. The U.S. Senate plans to vote Wednesday on the measure and it's expected to pass.

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