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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:

Cornyn Presses Holder on Gun Tracking

April 16, 2014

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn is asking Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. about the possibility of the Obama administration trying to track gun owners. The Texas Republican’s letter puts the Justice Department on the spot following Holder’s testimony about new gun safety devices at an April 4 House subcommittee hearing about the department’s fiscal 2015 budget.

Filibuster Unconstitutional? D.C. Circuit Denies Appeal, Cites 'Speech or Debate' Flaw

April 15, 2014

Advocates asking the judiciary to declare the filibuster unconstitutional were dealt a major setback Tuesday by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Unemployment Extension Petition Gets Manchin's Push

April 15, 2014

Keeping the unemployment insurance extension issue alive, Sen. Joe Manchin III is asking supporters to sign on to a petition urging the House to act. The West Virginia Democrat doesn’t agree with his party on everything, but an email pitch sent Tuesday morning demonstrates considerable Democratic unity on reviving extended unemployment insurance benefits.

'Nuclear' Nominations Aftermath Slows Senate to Crawl

April 14, 2014

Just how many of President Barack Obama’s nominees will get confirmed this year? If last week is any indication, the answer may depend on whether Democrats once again employ the “nuclear” option to effectively change the Senate’s rules.

Washington Responds to Passing of Nuala Pell, Widow of Former Rhode Island Senator

April 14, 2014

Nuala Pell, widow of former Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell, passed away Sunday morning in Newport at age 89.

Ban on E-Cig Sales, Marketing to Children Pushed by Durbin, Waxman

April 14, 2014

E-cigarette sales and marketing to children will soon be banned and flavorings could be restricted by the federal government if two senior congressional Democrats get their way.

Senate Democrats to Holder: Intervene in GM Recall

April 11, 2014

A group of five Democratic senators want the Justice Department to take action to keep General Motors from denying responsibility for faulty ignition switches.

Tax 'Extenders' and Energy Efficiency Make May Agenda, Reid Says

April 11, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring up a catchall tax “extenders” package to the floor next work period, along with a long-delayed energy efficiency bill.

Senate Switcheroo Crimps Travel Plans

April 11, 2014

Thursday night’s unplanned — but predictable — shift in the Senate’s vote schedule meddled with plans of senators who actually planned to show up for work Friday.

'Nuclear' Fallout Slows Senate, Briefly Delays Recess (Updated)

April 10, 2014

Updated 8:30 p.m. | Fallout from last year’s “nuclear” rules change trumped the proverbial smell of jet fumes in the Senate this week, but only for a while.

Joe Manchin: Koch Brothers 'Not Breaking the Law'

April 10, 2014

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W. Va., sounds like no fan of the top Senate Democrat’s attacks on the Koch brothers.

Reid: Recess Won't Start Until After Judicial Nomination Vote

April 10, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in no mood to delay a scheduled confirmation vote for a Ninth Circuit judicial nominee — warning he’ll keep the Senate in session Friday if Republicans don’t consent to an earlier vote.

Graham to Comcast Exec: 'Anybody Represent DIRECTV?'

April 9, 2014

When officials from Comcast and Time Warner Cable appeared at the Senate Judiciary Committee to push the case for their proposed $45 billion merger, Sen. Lindsey Graham asked questions that any ordinary American consumer might.

The South Carolina Republican had service issues, with both cable and DirecTV.

Before he switched to the satellite service, Graham said at the hearing that his cable TV "went out right in the fourth quarter of a ballgame."

McConnell Doubts Individual Campaign Finance Limits Will Go Away

April 8, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, an outspoken foe of many campaign finance restrictions, said Tuesday that he didn't think limits on individual contributions to candidates will disappear any time soon.

"I think that's not likely to happen," the Kentucky Republican said when asked at a news conference about the possibility of the restrictions on individual contributions being thrown out.

McConnell Doubts Individual Campaign Finance Limits Will Go Away (Video)

April 8, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, an outspoken foe of many campaign finance restrictions, said Tuesday that he didn’t think limits on individual contributions to candidates will disappear any time soon.

‘Cuban Twitter’ Dominates USAID Hearing

April 8, 2014

The senior senator charged with overseeing the U.S. Agency for International Development budget unleashed scathing criticism on the department’s leader Tuesday over a “Cuban Twitter” program.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., the longtime chairman of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, pressed USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah over the U.S-run social media platform in Cuba that was reported last week by The Associated Press. Leahy wanted to know who was behind creation of the program, but Shah did not have a specific answer, saying it came before he started running the agency at the end of 2009.

'Cuban Twitter' Dominates USAID Hearing (Video)

April 8, 2014

The senior senator charged with overseeing the U.S. Agency for International Development budget unleashed scathing criticism on the department’s leader Tuesday over a “Cuban Twitter” program.

Leahy Defends Senators' Role in Vetting Judges in Their States

April 8, 2014

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy has again come to the defense of allowing home-state senators to block the nominations of federal judges in their states, even when the senators are Republicans.

Will Congressional Pay Hikes Ever Come Off Autopilot?

April 7, 2014

Should members of Congress have to vote every time they want a raise?

Reid Contributor Hopes to Toss Remaining Campaign Finance Limits

April 4, 2014

A man convicted of making illegal campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would like to make a nightmare of one of the Nevada Democrat’s top lieutenants come true — by eliminating all campaign contribution limits.

Schumer Wins Tax Benefits for Bikes, Trains and Broadway Shows

April 3, 2014

Observers of Sen. Charles E. Schumer had to know what would follow Thursday’s tax extenders markup: laudatory press releases.

Roberts Blasts IRS at Finance Markup

April 3, 2014

Senate Republicans fired another warning shot Thursday in their ongoing battle against the Internal Revenue Service's treatment of conservative organizations.

The latest came at the Finance Committee's markup of the broad "tax extenders" package, when GOP Sen. Pat Roberts floated an amendment to block, for one year, the IRS from making new rules governing political activity by social welfare groups under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.

Intelligence Committee Votes to Declassify CIA Report (Updated)

April 3, 2014

Updated 4:48 p.m. | The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 Thursday to declassify portions of the committee’s voluminous investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs, after the White House indicated President Barack Obama wanted the public to get a chance to read it.

Roberts Blasts IRS at Finance Markup (Video)

April 3, 2014

Senate Republicans fired another warning shot Thursday in their ongoing battle against the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of conservative organizations.

Collins, King Join in Backing Report on CIA Torture

April 2, 2014

Mainers are well represented in the secretive world of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as Wednesday proved.

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