"It's a great system but it's in some disarray right now and the American people are looking for their leaders to fix it," Powell said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Congressional leaders need to find ways to "get the country moving and not just scream at each other," said Powell, a Republican and a retired four-star U.S. Army general.
Powell, who endorsed Democrat Barack Obama as president, said he would do so again because Obama's agenda, though overly ambitious, helped lift a collapsing economy.
"I think he has done quite a few things well to stabilize the situation," Powell said. "But I'm afraid he put too much on the plate for the American people to absorb at this time."
On national security, Powell disagreed with recent comments by former Vice President Dick Cheney that America is at greater risk of a terrorist attack because of Obama administration policy.
"I don't think that's borne out by the facts," Powell said on "Face the Nation."