Democrats yell "you" when Trump says some are trying to destroy health care
From CNN's Manu Raju and Paul LeBlanc
A chorus of Democrats yelled out “you” when President Trump said during his address that some are trying to destroy health care.
Democrats could be heard laughing when the President said he was taking on big pharmaceutical companies. As Trump riffed on the subject, a crowd of Democrats also started chanting “HR3," referencing the Democratic health care bill to lower drug prices.
A number of Democrats also appeared aghast when Trump said, “We will protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” Rep. Norma Torres, a Democrat from California, threw up her hands in the air after the remark.
Democrats also groaned loudly when Trump mentioned illegal aliens.
Watch moment here:
10:13 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020
Fact check: Trump promises to protect those with pre-existing conditions while taking steps to undo protections
From CNN's Tami Luhby
President Trump has repeatedly promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions, even as he has sought to kill the Affordable Care Act, which greatly expanded those safeguards.
“I’ve also made an ironclad pledge to American families. We will also protect patients with pre-existing conditions,” he said during his State of the Union address.
Facts First: Trump's claim about protecting those with pre-existing conditions is false. Though Trump says he would do this, his administration has consistently taken steps to undermine the Affordable Care Act — including joining a lawsuit aimed at striking down the law — without presenting alternative plans that would offer similar benefits.
The Affordable Care Act barred insurers in the individual market from denying people coverage or charging them higher premiums because of their health histories. Also, carriers had to provide comprehensive coverage -- offering 10 essential health benefits, including maternity, mental health and prescription drugs.
Trump has worked to undermine the Affordable Care Act from his first day in office, when he issued an executive order directing agencies to interpret its regulations as loosely as possible. He championed congressional Republicans' bills in 2017 that would have weakened the law's protections.
And his Justice Department is siding with a coalition of Republican states that are fighting in federal court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. An appellate panel in December upheld a lower court ruling that found Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional but sent the case back to the lower court to decide whether the entire law must fall.
The President has said repeatedly that he would roll out a new health care plan that would protect those with pre-existing conditions, but he has yet to do so. Last April, he backed away from pushing for a vote on a replacement plan until after the 2020 election.
Meanwhile, he issued another executive order in late 2017 that would make it easier for Americans to buy alternatives to the Affordable Care Act that are cheaper, but offer fewer protections, such as short-term health plans. The law's defenders, however, fear that such plans could siphon off younger and healthier people, which could cause premiums to rise for those left buying policies in the Obamacare exchanges.
Trump's administration is also allowing states to make major changes to their Obamacare markets, which could also leave low-income, older or sicker residents with few choices and higher costs. Few states have taken the federal government up on this offer so far.
2:25 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020
Why Democratic lawmakers raised three fingers during this moment of Trump's speech
From CNN's Tami Luhby
President Trump urged lawmakers to come up with legislation to lower prescription drug prices — a demand that prompted some Democratic lawmakers to stand up with three fingers in the air.
The three fingers were for HR 3. That bill — now titled the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, in memory of the Maryland congressman who passed away last year — would empower the Health & Human Services secretary to negotiate annually for the best prices on at least 50 costly brand-name drugs and up to 250 medications, including insulin. Prices would be capped at 1.2 times their cost in certain other developed countries.
And it would require drug companies to pay a rebate to the federal government if their prices increase faster than inflation. The plan would impact drug prices for all Americans, not just Medicare enrollees.
Watch the moment:
CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect when Elijah Cummings died. It was October 2019.
11:06 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020
Trump awards Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his speech
During his State of the Union address, President Trump presented political radio host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Democrats yelled “no” when the President announced it.
"Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness. Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet," Trump said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
He then asked first Lady Melania Trump to present him with the honor.
People close to Trump say he personally enjoys granting his friends the nation's highest civilian honor. He bestowed the award upon seven recipients in 2019, and several more the year prior.
Watch moment here:
9:52 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020
Trump promises to protect patients with pre-existing conditions
From CNN's Tami Luhby
President Trump is talking about health care during his State of the Union address, promising to protect American's Medicare plans and patients with pre-existing conditions.
"I've also made an ironclad pledge to American families we will also protect patients with pre-existing conditions," Trump said.
Trump has made this promise before: President Trump has repeatedly promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions — even as he has sought to kill the Affordable Care Act — which greatly expanded those safeguards.
The Affordable Care Act barred insurers in the individual market from denying people policies or charging them higher premiums because of their health histories. Also, carriers had to provide comprehensive coverage — offering 10 essential health benefits, including maternity, mental health and prescription drugs.
Trump has sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act from his first day in office. And his Justice Department is siding with a coalition of Republican states that are fighting in federal court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.
Fact check: Trump said the US has gained 12,000 factories since he took office. That's correct.
From CNN's Daniel Dale
Trump said that after losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories during his time in office.
Facts First:Both figures are correct, though it’s worth noting that the numbers include both large traditional factories and tiny facilities that produce goods with fewer than five employees.
There are different ways to measure the number of “manufacturing establishments” in the country. According to the Census Bureau's Statistics of US Businesses data series, the number of manufacturing establishments in the US fell by 61,076 between 2001, the beginning of the George W. Bush administration -- when there were 352,619 establishments-- and 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration, when there were 291,543 establishments. That's a reduction of about 17%.
Another government measure, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, shows an increase of 12,074 in the number of manufacturing establishments between the first quarter of 2017 (343,972), when Trump took office, and the second quarter of 2019, the most recent data available (356,046).
9:40 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020
Trump welcomes Venezuela's "true and legitimate president"
Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó is in the audience at the State of the Union address tonight.
He's a guest of President Trump.
"Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó," Trump said.
There was a long applause, and then Trump added:
"Please take this message back: That all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom. Thank you very much, Mr. President. Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul."
Watch the moment here:
9:38 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020
Democrats are audibly groaning in the tense House chamber
From CNN's Manu Raju
As President Trump boasts about the economy and takes credit, Democrats can be heard groaning.
The atmosphere is very tense. Democrats are not applauding, other than a few
As the President boasted about welfare stats, Democrats were heard objecting. Republicans howled in support.
By CNN's count, there were 16 GOP standing ovations until there was one bipartisan standing ovation applauding guest Tony Rankins.
Also West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is one of the lone Democrats sitting on GOP side of the aisle.
9:39 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020
Fact check: The US did not become the world's top energy producer under Trump
From CNN's Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam
In his State of the Union address, President Trump talked up the production of oil and gas in the US during his time in office.
“Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, by far,” Trump said.
The US became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump's tenure.
"The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when US natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and it has been the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when its production exceeded Saudi Arabia's," the Energy Information Administration says.