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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:

McConnell on GOP Gains in Kentucky: Thanks, Obama

Nov. 4, 2015

Democrats might disagree, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks the GOP electoral wave in his home state Tuesday was about President Barack Obama.

Budget Deal's Goodwill Evaporates With Defense Spending Spat

Nov. 4, 2015

A partisan skirmish erupted over a Pentagon spending bill Wednesday, bringing to an abrupt halt the wave of cross-party goodwill that helped congressional leaders shepherd a bipartisan budget agreement to passage last week.

When All Politics Is Really Local

Nov. 4, 2015

Sometimes life after Congress means retiring to a life of consulting, but sometimes it means you end up back in local government.

The Last Freshman: Sasse Evokes Senate Titans in Opening Speech

Nov. 3, 2015

Leave it to a historian with a Yale doctorate to respect a Senate tradition from a bygone era.

Senate to Join House in Prolonged August Recess

Nov. 3, 2015

Senators are expected to have an extended August recess in 2016, just like their House counterparts.

2016 Conventions Spur Extended House Recess

Nov. 3, 2015

In 2016, August recess will feel like forever.

Ryan Attending Senate GOP Lunch Tuesday

Nov. 3, 2015

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., will cross the Capitol to be a guest at the Senate Republican Conference lunch Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the plan.

Rand Paul Goes Viral, Thanks to Mike Lee

Nov. 2, 2015

Rand Paul’s late-night budget deal filibuster bid picked up an unexpected boost from fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Democrats Seek Repeat of Budget Success in Spending Debate

Nov. 2, 2015

When it came to cutting a budget deal to increase spending levels, the Democratic strategy worked — and all signs point to an attempt at a repeat performance in December.

Reid: Democrats Would Stop a Rider-Riddled Omnibus

Oct. 30, 2015

Updated 5:24 a.m. | Democrats on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are prepared to unite again and protect the Obama administration’s agenda in the December spending debate.

Roberts, McConnell Announce Crop Insurance Fix

Oct. 29, 2015

Updated 1:57 p.m. | Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts has assurances from his leadership to reverse crop insurance cutbacks in the budget and debt limit deal that’s currently on the Senate floor.

Biden's Not Running, But Reid's Still Not Endorsing

Oct. 28, 2015

The decision by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., to forgo a White House bid has not changed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s mind about an endorsement.

Reid Unloads on Fantasy Sports, Washington Football

Oct. 28, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Congress should act to stop weekly fantasy sports contests that he defines as unregulated gambling.

Paul Pledges Budget Deal Filibuster Ahead of Debate

Oct. 28, 2015

The two-year budget deal heading to the House floor will make prime Republican presidential debate fodder Wednesday evening in Colorado.

With Little Suspense, Budget Deal Heads to the Senate

Oct. 28, 2015

Updated 6:48 p.m. | The 2015 debt limit standoff is on track to end with a whimper.

Can Paul Ryan Keep the Manure Out of the House Barn?

Oct. 27, 2015

Updated 7:10 p.m. | Rep. Paul D. Ryan may agree with his conservative colleagues about the way the budget deal was cooked up — it “stinks,” he told NBC News — but its passage sets the speaker-in-waiting up to tackle the multitude of challenges ahead.

Corralling the Votes for Budget Deal

Oct. 27, 2015

Updated 10:27 a.m. | Even before Tuesday morning’s GOP conference meeting to sell the bipartisan budget agreement got underway, Rep. Tom Cole and others were already making their pitch.

Members Wait for Big Budget, Debt Details

Oct. 26, 2015

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol emerged from separate conference meetings Monday night intrigued but noncommittal about the prospects of a big budget and debt-limit deal that would ease fiscal pressure going forward.

It's Crunch Time Again in Congress

Oct. 26, 2015

On deadline: That’s the theme of the next two weeks on Capitol Hill.

Big Budget Deal Could Clean Out Boehner's Barn

Oct. 26, 2015

Updated 3:26 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner’s effort to “clean the barn” before leaving Congress is gaining momentum, with the four corners of congressional leadership and the White House hoping for a budget and debt limit deal.

Ayotte Backs EPA Clean Power Plan

Oct. 25, 2015

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., broke with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday by announcing her support for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

Ryan Staffing Up for Speaker's Office

Oct. 25, 2015

If he’s elected speaker Thursday, Paul D. Ryan plans to name David Hoppe — a man best known around the Capitol for his Senate experience — to be his chief of staff.

Popular Criminal Justice Bill Poses Political Risk

Oct. 23, 2015

Heading to the Senate floor, beware of Willie Horton.

Cruz: Senate Umpire Works for Us

Oct. 22, 2015

Updated 4:54 p.m. | GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz signaled the Senate parliamentarian should be ousted or ignored if a full repeal of Obamacare is deemed to violate budget rules.

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