House Republican leaders have, at long last, released the American Health Care Act, their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. In the days preceding the bill's release, Speaker Paul Ryanreportedly urged the White House to deliver President Donald Trump's endorsement, which he believed would greatly help its chances of passing.
But with a Monday night statement from Press Secretary Sean Spicer, it's clear that the president isn't ready to go there — not yet at least.
More from Vox:
House Republicans just introduced their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare
The American Health Care Act: The Republicans' bill to replace Obamacare, explained
The GOP health bill doesn't know what problem it's trying to solve
"Obamacare has proven to be a disaster with fewer options, inferior care, and skyrocketing costs that are crushing small businesses and families across America. Today marks an important step toward restoring healthcare choices and affordability back to the American people. President Trump looks forward to working with both Chambers of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare."
That is a remarkably tepid statement on what's now the main vehicle for the top item on Republicans' legislative agenda.
After opening with the usual criticisms of Obamacare, Spicer goes on to say... nothing at all about the House bill itself. The statement merely praises "today" as an "important step." Then it says Trump wants to work with both chambers.
The language of statements like these is heavily vetted, and this one may be polite, but it is unmistakably a non-endorsement. If the White House was ready to back Ryan's bill, it would clearly say so. But it didn't — just as President Trump didn't endorse the House plan in his speech to Congress, but rather laid out his own five principles.