"The American people are angry about executive compensation, and rightfully so," Paulson told the House Financial Services Committee, The New York Times reported.
An early meeting with Republican leaders turned in mixed results, the Times reported.
The chairman of the Republican Party Policy Committee, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, was the first Republican to declare he would vote against the bill, the Times reported.
"They want a public bailout, that's their approach," McCotter said. "We believe in private recapitalization and proper incentivization."
McCotter and other Republicans are pushing to cancel the capital gains tax on the illiquid mortgage-linked assets that are clogging the financial system.
Democrats and Republicans have both reacted to the perception among their constituents that the bailout is focused on helping rich Wall Street executives.
"Truly, my calls are 150-to-1 against it," said Gary Miller, R-Calif. "Overwhelmingly, people in the private sector are looking at this and saying it's just a big bailout for a bunch of fat cats on Wall Street," Miller said.
Susan Sarandon 'very excited' about daughter's pregnancy
Interpol investigating stolen passports on missing flight