President Barack Obama was defiant in his State of the Union address Tuesday night--his first time looking out on a chamber controlled entirely by his Republican opponents.

“For all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed; and the State of the Union is strong," the president said.

Tax proposals that would boost middle-class families were the centerpiece of the president’s speech, including raising the minimum wage, free college tuition and extending paid family leave. Efforts he wants to pay for by raising taxes on the wealthy. 

"Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works,” President Obama said. “These policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way."

But politics are sure to get in the way. The White House is setting the foundation for a debate with Republicans heading into the 2016 presidential election.

"Look, a lot of these kinds of policies are the kinds of policies that we implemented to stave off a second-grade depression,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “We’ve dug our way out of a hole."

Texas Republicans were unmoved.

“I’ve been here for two weeks and I’ve already realized we don’t spend the money effectively that we already take in,” Rep. Will Hurd said. “I don’t want any more people sending more money up here.

Democrats, however, welcomed the president's economic message.

"The state of our union will be stronger as more American families feel that they are more economically stronger themselves,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett said.