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Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican National Committee on Thursday sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates threatening to block future GOP presidential nominees from sanctioned debates if "meaningful reforms" are not made.

Driving the news: "So long as the CPD appears intent on stonewalling the meaningful reforms necessary to restore its credibility with the Republican Party as a fair and nonpartisan actor, the RNC will take every step to ensure that future Republican presidential nominees are given that opportunity elsewhere," RNC chair Ronna McDaniel wrote.

  • "Accordingly, the RNC will initiate the process of amending the Rules of the Republican Party at our upcoming Winter Meeting to prohibit future Republican nominees from participating in CPD-sponsored debates," McDaniel added.

The big picture: The Republican Party for nearly a decade has complained that the nonprofit debate commission — which has described itself as nonpartisan — has favored Democrats, according to the New York Times, which first reported on the move.

  • The RNC began discussions last year with the debate commission's co-chair, Frank Fahrenkopf, on concerns with the debates, per the letter.
  • In June, "the RNC wrote to the CPD outlining its serious missteps and the partisan actions of its board members, explaining that these actions have damaged the RNC’s faith that the CPD can provide a fair and impartial forum for presidential debates," per a timeline outlined in the letter.

The other side: "The CPD deals directly with candidates for President and Vice President who qualify for participation in the CPD’s general election debates," the commission wrote in a statement to Axios.

  • "The CPD’s plans for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality and a firm commitment to help the American public learn about the candidates and the issues."

What they're saying: "The RNC has shared our concerns with the CPD in good faith, carefully documenting why the party and its voters have lost faith in your organization, and we have proposed commonsense reforms that would restore trust in the debates process," the RNC said.

  • "Unfortunately, neither the tone nor substance of your latest response inspires confidence that the CPD will meaningfully address the serious issues which the RNC has raised."

Go deeper

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

4 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."