"I see nothing there that’s going to increase any private sector employment,” he added. 

The debt-ceiling deal signed into law earlier in the month establishes a bipartisan, bicameral supercommittee of 12 legislators, which is charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures.

In the interview, Harkin said he would like to see President Obama focus on infrastructure and rebuilding the economy over deficit reduction.

“That [infrastructure investment] takes precedent over deficit reduction,” said Harkin. "[T]here’s plenty of money to be gotten through revenue increases and through closing tax loopholes.”

“I don’t think he’s exercising the leadership that’s necessary right now to move us in the direction that I think we ought to be moving in," he concluded.