Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that 2013 could be a “very good year” for the U.S. economy if politicians can strike a quick deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

The powerful central bank chief called for a credible long-term framework to put the federal budget on a sound path, but warned against action that would needlessly add to the headwinds facing the economy.

He repeated a warning that running over the $600 billion “cliff” of expiring tax cuts and government spending reductions could derail the U.S. recovery, and said worries over how budget negotiations will be resolved were already damaging growth.

“Such uncertainties will only be increased by discord and delay,” he told the Economic Club of New York. “In contrast, cooperation and creativity to deliver fiscal clarity – in particular, a plan for resolving the nation’s long-term budgetary issues without harming the recovery – could help make the new year a very good one for the American economy.”