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Niels Lesniewski


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:

Ahead of Obamacare Repeal Rollout, Walker Stocks Up On Advisers Familiar With Capitol Hill

Aug. 18, 2015

As Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker sets out to unveil his proposal to replace Obamacare, he’s been staffing up from Capitol Hill.

McConnell Praises Efforts to Fight Heroin Epidemic

Aug. 17, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is starting the week with praise for the White House’s drug czar.

The Return to Cuba: Leahy's Camera Captures History

Aug. 15, 2015

When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy attends a major event, he always brings along his camera.

Graham Looks at Early States as 'the Way Forward'

Aug. 14, 2015

GREENVILLE, S.C. — At a Republican primary debate watch party in suburban Charleston last week, there was something missing: any sign of support for home-state Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Senators: Metro Safety Important Enough to Micro-Manage

Aug. 14, 2015

The four senators from the states that surround Washington, D.C., say Metro’s board of directors needs to move more quickly to protect riders from the system’s aging rail infrastructure.

Rubio to Pledge to Invite Dissidents to His Inauguration

Aug. 13, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio will announce that political dissidents would be guests of honor at the inauguration in January 2017 should he be elected president.

Thune Wants GOP Senators Touting Productivity

Aug. 13, 2015

Republican senators were sent home for August recess with a pocket card printed with a simple message.

McCain: 'Shameful' to Limit Arlington Cemetery Expansion for Bus Facility

Aug. 13, 2015

John McCain is pushing hard to quash the idea of building a bus maintenance facility on property the Arizona Republican would rather see set aside for an expansion of the adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.

Rubio: Kerry Giving 'Lip Service' to Human Rights in Cuba

Aug. 12, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday blasted Secretary of State John Kerry after reports Cuban dissidents will not be a part of Friday’s ceremonial re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana.

Graham: National Security Concerns Trump Planned Parenthood

Aug. 11, 2015

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A potential President Lindsey Graham would propose defunding Planned Parenthood, but the South Carolina Republican said using a government funding crisis as leverage in an abortion debate would undermine national security.

Ted Cruz to States: Impose Your Own Iran Sanctions

Aug. 9, 2015

PELHAM, Ala. — Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that doing everything possible to thwart the Iran deal should include states exploring imposing their own sanctions.

Rand Paul Makes His Pitch, Brushes Off Indictments

Aug. 8, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sen. Rand Paul’s target audience is unique among the presidential contenders. It skews younger and more libertarian.

Ted Cruz Won't Rule Out Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

Aug. 7, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mitch McConnell may be ruling out a government shutdown at the end of September, but Sen. Ted Cruz certainly is not.

At Debate Night at the Movies, Cheers for Candidates, and the Moderators

Aug. 7, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — It was a full house at a South Carolina movie house Thursday night for a special show: the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle.

Candidates Need Answers to New Hampshire's Heroin Crisis

Aug. 6, 2015

It’s hard to get through a political event in New Hampshire these days without someone mentioning heroin.

Senate Heads for Recess After Reaching Deal on Iran, Cyber Debates (Video)

Aug. 5, 2015

The Senate’s figured out how to go ahead with debates on both the Iran deal and cybersecurity legislation — debates that will not happen in earnest until after the August recess.

Rand Paul Allies Indicted in Iowa Campaign Fraud Case (Updated)

Aug. 5, 2015

Updated 1:25 p.m. | A longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul who at one point served as the 2014 campaign manager for now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been indicted for alleged campaign finance fraud.

Cruz Ready for Next Debt Limit Debate

Aug. 4, 2015

Remember what happened the last time Congress acted to raise the debt limit?

McConnell Says No Shutdowns as September Agenda Takes Shape (Video)

Aug. 4, 2015

Senate Democrats are warning a new shutdown showdown looms in September, even as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated there wouldn’t be any government shutdowns on his watch.

Cruz, Rubio and Paul Make New Hampshire Forum — Sort Of

Aug. 3, 2015

For three of the 14 presidential candidates participating in Monday’s Voters First Forum, the timing was less than ideal.

What's McConnell's Next Move on the EPA's Clean Power Plan? (Updated)

Aug. 3, 2015

Updated 2:55 p.m. | The Obama administration’s final Clean Power Plan unveiled Monday sets aggressive goals for reducing carbon pollution — but the first challenge on the road to implementation will be working around Republican opposition on Capitol Hill.

Ted Cruz Defers to House Members on Bid to Boot Boehner

July 31, 2015

Upending the “Washington cartel” of career politicians may be the theme of Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for the White House, but the Texas Republican is not weighing in on a bid to oust John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, from his role as speaker.

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