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Niels Lesniewski

Bio:

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.

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Stories by Niels Lesniewski:

Iran Bill Supporters Seek to Avoid Contentious Amendments

April 24, 2015

Supporters of the Senate’s Iran legislation know they have to do a delicate dance on the floor.

Leahy, Paul Honored Together as 'Constitutional Champions'

April 23, 2015

Looking only at voting records, you wouldn’t expect Rand Paul and Patrick J. Leahy to share an award of any kind.

A Possible Path Forward on Patriot Act

April 22, 2015

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.

Tough Talk on Trade Between Wyden and Reid

April 22, 2015

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.

State Department IG Tells Senate He Needs Own Network (Video)

April 21, 2015

Can an inspector general be truly independent while department officials have access to his computer network?

State Department IG Requests Separate IT Network

April 21, 2015

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."

Harry Reid a 'Hell No' on Obama's Fast Track Push (Video)

April 21, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday his advice to Sen. Ron Wyden is to “slow down” so-called “fast-track” trade legislation.

Dick Durbin, Honky Tonk Man (Video)

April 21, 2015

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.

Rand Paul Calls GOP Hawks Obama 'Lap Dogs'

April 21, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday he thinks fellow Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are, in effect, “lap dogs” for President Barack Obama.

Legislative Deadlines for Presidential Candidates to Watch

April 21, 2015

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.

Senate Reaches Trafficking Deal, Teeing Up Loretta Lynch Confirmation (Updated) (Video)

April 21, 2015

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.

Senate Strikes Deal on Trafficking Bill, Loretta Lynch

April 21, 2015

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.

Manchin Is Staying in the Senate

April 19, 2015

Sen. Joe Manchin III will not be taking any country roads home to West Virginia any time soon.

For Lynch, Next Week Just Might Be the Week

April 17, 2015

At the end of a week that saw bipartisanship break out all around the Senate, Loretta Lynch remained in limbo.

Cruz Iran Letter Uses the Royal 'We' — Briefly

April 17, 2015

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.

Wyden Knows His Challenge on Trade: Fellow Democrats

April 17, 2015

“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.

With Capitol in Sight, Postal Customers Struggle to Pay Their Taxes

April 16, 2015

The irony was unmistakable.

Reps. Stefanik, Comstock Join Launch of 'Empowered Women' Effort

April 16, 2015

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.

What 'Abolish the IRS' Really Means

April 16, 2015

“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.

Graham Questions Why Police Didn't Shoot Down the Gyrocopter

April 15, 2015

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.

Walter Isaacson to Speak at Next Bipartisan Senate Lunch

April 14, 2015

It is time again for the Senate to get together for a bipartisan lunch.

Unanimous Foreign Relations Vote Puts Iran Bill on Warpspeed

April 14, 2015

In the end, it was unanimous.

Rubio, Menendez Quickly Out of the Gate Against Cuba Policy Changes (Video)

April 14, 2015

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.

Democrats Rebut McConnell's Message to States on EPA

April 14, 2015

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.

Senate's To-Do List Keeps Getting Longer (Video)

April 14, 2015

A debate over Iran may highlight the Senate’s agenda, but it already seems like there might be too much to do.

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