Well, this move by Speaker Boehner doesn’t exactly follow my Simpson-Bowles playbook to a tee — but Erskine Bowles does make an appearance, and Republicans are going on (realistic, reasonable) offense. In a new letter addressed to the president, House Republican leaders firmly reject the president’s non-starter “proposal,” pointedly decline to counter with an equally unrealistic wish list, and offer an alternative bipartisan solution:

With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks. The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussions that have occurred during this Congress, including the Biden Group, the Joint Select Committee, and our negotiations leading up to the Budget Control Act. For instance, on November 1 of last year, Erskine Bowles, the co-chair of your debt commission, presented the Joint Select Committee with a middle ground approach that garnered praise from many fiscal watchdogs and nonpartisan experts. He recommended that both parties agree to a balanced package that includes significant spending cuts as well as $800 billion in new revenue. Notably, the new revenue in the Bowles plan would not be achieved through higher tax rates, which we continue to oppose and will not agree to in order to protect small businesses and our economy. Instead, new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.