His term is due to end on January 31st 2010 and Mr Bernanke must first win the approval of the banking committee before gaining the support of the Senate if he is to remain in the role.
Mr Bernanke defended his performance on the basis of his decisive actions at the height of the financial crisis.
"The outcome could have been markedly worse," he said.
While analysts expect him to gain the committee's overall backing, Mr Bernanke faced some hostile question over his four-year tenure.
Republican Jim Bunning, a long-term critic of Mr Bernanke, said: "From monetary policy to regulation, consumer protection, transparency and independence, your time as Fed chairman has been a failure."
Earlier this week, Mr Bernanke was named top Global Thinker by Foreign Policy magazine.
By Tony Aynsley