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Niels Lesniewski covers the Senate for Roll Call. He joined what is now CQ Roll Call in September 2007, hired by Roll Call for the GalleryWatch legislative tracking service that was integrated into CQ in 2009. He is known for his expertise on the peculiarities of Senate procedure.
Niels began covering the Senate for CQ in January 2010, taking the title of CQ SenateWatch editor in the summer of 2011. He has contributed to coverage of all the biggest policy stories on Capitol Hill in recent years, including the response to the 2008 financial collapse, the health care overhaul and several budget standoffs.
A Connecticut native, Niels graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a dual degree in theatre and government. Before joining CQ Roll Call, he worked for theater productions in D.C. and New England. While in college, he interned for ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Outside of work, Niels is an avid sports fan. He started attending Nationals games back when the team was among the worst in the National League and still playing at RFK Stadium.
Supporters of the Senate’s Iran legislation know they have to do a delicate dance on the floor.
Looking only at voting records, you wouldn’t expect Rand Paul and Patrick J. Leahy to share an award of any kind.
As the Senate worked its way out of two legislative knots Wednesday, passing a human-trafficking bill, 99-0, and setting up a Thursday vote on the long-delayed nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the path to reauthorizing surveillance activities would be a lot easier if the White House engaged Congress sooner rather than later.
Sen. Ron Wyden did not sound surprised by Minority Leader Harry Reid’s call Tuesday for him to slow down progress on Trade Promotion Authority legislation that was being marked up Wednesday afternoon.
Can an inspector general be truly independent while department officials have access to his computer network?
In testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing Tuesday, State Department Inspector General Steve A. Linick told the committee that along with needing better communication about potential criminal activity by department officials, he also needed an independent computer network.
Linick said while there was no indication of State Department personnel looking into sensitive files on his computer, the possibility existed due to the shared network. Linick highlighted the sensitivity pertaining to investigation materials on whistleblowers as one example.
“They’re not open, but if an administrator wanted to — and again, we don’t have evidence of this — if an administrator wanted to, he or she could come on to our system,” Linick said. “They come on to our system as it is with security patching and all, for legitimate reasons."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday his advice to Sen. Ron Wyden is to “slow down” so-called “fast-track” trade legislation.
Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said he would personally be willing to meet with actual or prospective Democratic challengers to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday he thinks fellow Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are, in effect, “lap dogs” for President Barack Obama.
There’s no shortage of deadlines in 2015 that will put the national media spotlight on Capitol Hill, even as much of the attention is on shooting ranges, ballrooms and diners in early presidential states.
Updated 10:41 a.m. | Loretta Lynch can expect to be confirmed as the next attorney general within a day or two after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal on a sex trafficking bill that had been tied up in abortion politics for weeks.
Loretta Lynch can expect to be confirmed as the next attorney general within a day or two, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal on a human-trafficking bill that had been tied up in abortion politics for weeks.
“There have been good-faith negotiations to resolve the impasse that has prevented the Senate from moving forward on this bill,” McConnell said. “And now, I’m glad we can say there is a bipartisan proposal that will allow us to complete action on this important legislation so we can provide help to the victims who desperately need it.”
“As soon as we finish the trafficking bill, as I’ve indicated for some time now, we’ll move to the president’s nominee for attorney general—hopefully in the next day or so,” he said.
Sen. Joe Manchin III will not be taking any country roads home to West Virginia any time soon.
At the end of a week that saw bipartisanship break out all around the Senate, Loretta Lynch remained in limbo.
Sen. Ted Cruz fired off a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Friday that declared “we” are making requests for the countries involved in the Iran talks — even though no other senators signed the letter.
“Trade has never been for the faint-hearted,” Sen. Ron Wyden said Friday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing a bipartisan agreement on legislation to promote trade deals.
The irony was unmistakable.
More than 200 people, including no shortage of current and former congressional aides, gathered Wednesday evening to launch a new platform for conservative-leaning women.
“Abolish the IRS” is a popular Republican refrain, getting time on the campaign trail and promotion from the Republican National Committee. But don’t take the catch phrase literally.
Sen. Lindsey Graham says the gyrocopter that prompted a security scare after landing on the West Front of the Capitol Wednesday should have been taken out while in the air.
It is time again for the Senate to get together for a bipartisan lunch.
In the end, it was unanimous.
Not long after the White House announced the president’s intent to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Sen. Marco Rubio was out with video responses in English and Spanish decrying the much-anticipated move.
A group of Democratic caucus members in the Senate has asked governors to consider the views of other Kentuckians before taking Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s advice on implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
A debate over Iran may highlight the Senate’s agenda, but it already seems like there might be too much to do.