A day after presenting a decisively liberal agenda to the Republican-led Congress in his State of the Union address, President Obama argued that Republicans "can't just say no" to his plans.
"I know there are Republicans who disagree with my approach, I could see that in their body language yesterday," Mr. Obama said at Boise State University in Idaho.
If they disagree, he continued, "they should put forward some alternative proposals. I want to hear specifically from them how they intend to help kids pay for college."
Mr. Obama on Tuesday night touted a plan to subsidize community college tuition, but Republicans have scoffed at his plan to pay for it by raising capital gains taxes and imposing new fees on financial firms.
"It is perfectly fair for them to say we've got a better way of meeting these national priorities" such as upgrading infrastructure, helping students go to college and expanding access to child care, the president said.
"You can't pretend there's nothing we can do to help middle class families get ahead," he continued. "Don't just say no."
Mr. Obama's trip to Idaho is part of his revamped approach to the State of the Union, an annual address delivered before a joint session of Congress. The president this year decided to roll out several proposals days ahead of the speech and to continue promoting them on the road in the days following.
In addition to promoting his new agenda, Mr. Obama on Wednesday met in Idaho with the wife and family of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor of Iranian descent who is being held in a prison outside of Tehran. Abedini was arrested in 2012 for Christian proselytizing in Iran and sentenced to eight years in jail.