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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:

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.

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.

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.

Unemployment Extension Bill Advances Narrowly in Senate

April 2, 2014

Updated 2 p.m. | The Senate’s deal to revive an extension of unemployment benefits passed a key procedural test — barely — Wednesday morning.

Tax Breaks for Racehorses, NASCAR, Movies, Wind? Extenders Spark Spat

April 1, 2014

Not all horsepower is created equal, at least if you’re a top Senate tax-writer.

Intelligence Director Appears to Concede NSA Searched Communications (Video)

April 1, 2014

The National Security Agency may have read your communications, albeit under limited circumstances.

CBO Calls Baloney on Using War Money to Pay Medicare Docs (Updated)

March 31, 2014

Updated 3:54 p.m. | Congressional budget scorekeepers don’t sound impressed with using projected savings from not fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent slashing paychecks for doctors.

Minimum Wage Debate Awaits Unemployment Extension Vote

March 31, 2014

The Senate debate on raising the federal minimum wage might slip until next week, in part because it’s unclear how long it will take the chamber to finish work on an unemployment insurance extension.

'Doc Fix' Heads to Obama: GOP Senators Switch Votes Within Minutes

March 31, 2014

They voted for it before they voted against it.

Wandering Tourist Enters Appropriations World

March 31, 2014

A March 28 meeting of Senate Democratic staffers about the appropriations process had an unexpected visitor.

In First Tests as Finance Chairman, Wyden Pushes Against Patches

March 31, 2014

In his first major tests as Senate Finance chairman, Ron Wyden is waging war against the congressional penchant for patches and punting. It’s not proving to be an easy fight.

Senate to Vote on 'Doc Fix' Monday, Wyden Looking Ahead (Updated)

March 27, 2014

Updated 6:18 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to send a yearlong patch for payments to doctors treating Medicare patients to President Barack Obama’s desk today, but it was not to be. A vote on the “doc fix” bill was postponed until Monday evening.

FBI Agent 'Severely Disciplined' for Misconduct in Ted Stevens Case, Director Says

March 27, 2014

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate subcommittee Thursday that an agent faced discipline for conduct related to the investigation of late Sen. Ted Stevens.

Unemployment Benefits Headed for Senate Vote (Updated)

March 26, 2014

Updated: 1:45 p.m. | The Senate is moving ahead Thursday with much-anticipated votes on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits that lapsed at the end of last year.

Online Gambling Foes Raise the Stakes

March 26, 2014

A new hand started Wednesday in the high-stakes battle over online gambling.

Reid Plans to Have Spending Bills on Floor in June and July

March 26, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is promising the Appropriations Committee a month’s worth of floor time.

On Obamacare, Harry Reid Says the Joke Is on Boehner

March 26, 2014

Senate Democrats unveiled an agenda Wednesday focused on the middle class and designed to help them keep the majority, but spent part of their press conference parrying questions about whether the Affordable Care Act would be a liability for Democrats in the November election.

Durbin, Democrats Rip E-Cigarettes as 'Candy-Flavored Poisons,' Want Ban on Sale to Children

March 25, 2014

Seven Senate Democrats are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes, citing a new report on nicotine poisoning.

McConnell Steers Clear of Louisville v. Kentucky

March 25, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knows better than to take sides when Louisville and Kentucky meet on the basketball court.

Come Memorial Day, Mikulski Wants the Floor

March 25, 2014

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski signaled again Tuesday that she intends to bring spending bills to the floor this year.

Unemployment Extension Vote Likely Delayed Until Next Week (Updated)

March 25, 2014

Updated 7:53 p.m. | With a squeezed calendar, the Senate will likely not hold a final vote passing a bill reviving emergency unemployment insurance benefits until next week.

Mitch McConnell's Ad-Maker Mistakes Duke Blue Devils for Kentucky Wildcats

March 25, 2014

It only lasted a few seconds, but one shot in a Web video released Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign caught the attention of eagle-eyed college hoops fans.

Unemployment Extension Fight Pits Portman Against Boehner

March 24, 2014

The fight for a bipartisan unemployment benefits extension bill is pitting two powerful, prominent Ohio Republicans — Speaker John A. Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman — against each other, but the two men haven’t yet spoken about it.

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