Others, like Representative Michael C. Burgess, Republican of Texas, have emphasized the nation’s growing debt. Mr. Burgess argued that Mr. Biden’s plan would add “nearly $2 trillion to the deficit,” before listing a series of complaints about the package, including that it will send money to states he accused of mismanaging their budgets.
But the main argument Republicans have lodged against the effort so far is that by not attracting Republican support, Mr. Biden is breaking from his own campaign call for bringing people together across party lines.
“After all the talk of unity,” Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said on Friday, “President Biden and congressional Democrats took the partisan route right out of the gate.”
Mr. Biden and his aides rejected that criticism, contending that “unity” referred to bringing together the voting public, not members of Congress.
“The president ran on unifying the country and putting forward ideas that would help address the crises we’re facing,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, citing poll numbers showing bipartisan support among American voters for the plan. “He didn’t run on a promise to unite the Democratic and Republican Party into one party in Washington.”
“This package has the vast majority of support from the American public,” Ms. Psaki said. “This is something that people want. They want to see it passed. They want these checks to get into communities. They want this funding to go to schools. They want more money for vaccine distribution.”
Still, Mr. Biden held out the chance that Republicans would come on board and allowed for the possibility that his plans could change slightly to appease moderates in both parties. That included acknowledging that he favored narrowing who receives the $1,400 direct payments included in the proposal to ensure that those earning more than $300,000 would not benefit. He did not specify what threshold he would accept to begin phasing out the checks, but made clear the starting amount would not change.