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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:

Martin Paone New Senate Liaison

Dec. 19, 2014

The White House’s new Senate liaison is an old familiar face around the chamber, and someone who really knows how the trains run.

How the Nuclear Option Changed the Judiciary

Dec. 19, 2014

For Sen. Harry Reid, going “nuclear” set the groundwork for his last great act of the 113th Congress.

Obama to Give Jan. 20 State of the Union (Updated)

Dec. 19, 2014

Updated 10:41 a.m. | President Barack Obama is accepting an invitation to deliver the 2015 State of the Union on Jan. 20, according to a White House official.

Rand Paul on Cuba: Open Trade a Better Way to Fight Communism

Dec. 18, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul says President Barack Obama should expect to face thousands of riders on next year’s spending bills.

Sessions Yields to Enzi for Budget Gavel (Updated)

Dec. 17, 2014

Updated 7:23 p.m. | Sen. Michael B. Enzi will be the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee in the next Congress.

Lindsey Graham Balks at Funding U.S. Embassy in Cuba (Updated)

Dec. 17, 2014

Updated 3:10 p.m. | The debate over President Barack Obama’s announced changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba will face a tough test at the Senate Appropriations Committee next year.

Democrats Close Out Majority With Wins on Nominations

Dec. 17, 2014

“This will be the last vote of this Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced shortly before 9:30 p.m.

Keystone XL and Energy Efficiency, Together Again?

Dec. 16, 2014

The first energy bill of the new year could feature a bit of a role reversal.

Durbin and Schumer Split Up

Dec. 16, 2014

The Senate’s longstanding D.C. roommates have gone their separate ways.

McConnell Puts Keystone First on 2015 Agenda

Dec. 16, 2014

The incoming Senate majority leader is putting approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project first on his 2015 agenda, telling reporters Tuesday a bill sponsored by Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota would lead off the floor schedule.

"We'll be starting next year with a job-creating bill that enjoys significant bipartisan support," McConnell said of the pipeline legislation. "It will be open for amendment. We'll hope that senators on both sides will offer energy-related amendments, but there will be no effort to try to ... micromanage the amendment process."

McConnell Puts Keystone First on the Agenda (Video)

Dec. 16, 2014

The incoming Senate majority leader is putting approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project first on his 2015 agenda.

Coburn Faces Blowback Over End-of-Session Blockade

Dec. 15, 2014

Sen. Tom Coburn faced renewed criticism Monday evening over his blockade of bipartisan measures aimed at preventing veterans from committing suicide, improving energy efficiency and extending terrorism insurance.

New Governing Coalition Emerges

Dec. 15, 2014

In the wake of the “cromnibus,” a new governing coalition may have emerged in Washington.

From New Committee Seat, David Vitter Seeks to Stop AG Nomination

Dec. 15, 2014

One of the new Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee says next year’s Senate should block President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee.

Ahead of Holidays, Schumer Slams High Cost of Flying (Video)

Dec. 15, 2014

How does a senator spend his only off-day during the end-of-session holiday rush? If you’re Charles E. Schumer, you go home to New York and hold a news conference about the high price of airline tickets.

Saturday Session a Preview of What's to Come

Dec. 14, 2014

At the end of a rare Saturday session, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was direct when asked if Democrats, led by outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had gotten the better of Republicans.

Senate Avoids Shutdown, Passes Cromnibus in Bipartisan Vote

Dec. 13, 2014

Updated 11:26 p.m. | The Senate has avoided a government shutdown, easily clearing the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” funding the government through September.

Menendez Files ISIS Force Amendment to 'Cromnibus' Despite No Chance of Vote

Dec. 13, 2014

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee thinks the current Congress should stick around long enough to consider an Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State, and he’s reiterating that as the Senate wraps up its work.

Senate Rejects Cruz Point of Order on Obama's Immigration Action

Dec. 13, 2014

Updated 11:05 p.m. | Ted Cruz’s proxy vote against President Barack Obama’s executive action ended in an overwhelming defeat Saturday night, splitting the GOP in half.

Surviving a Saturday in the Senate

Dec. 13, 2014

Cars packed the East Front of the Capitol Saturday, as senators returned for a surprise weekend session. Even as the first vote of the day was underway, lawmakers were still making their way back to the Senate.

Reid Announces Weekend Votes After Blockade (Updated)

Dec. 12, 2014

Updated Dec. 13, 12:15 a.m. | Conservatives stalled action on the Senate floor late Friday as leaders scrambled to wrap up the 113th Congress.

Reid Hopes for Quick 'Cromnibus' Passage, Getaway

Dec. 12, 2014

Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to tackle the catchall “cromnibus” spending bill before departure.

Coburn Reprises 2011 Senate Rules Debate

Dec. 12, 2014

Sen. Tom Coburn’s last stand includes a reprise of a 2011 floor debate that helped lay the groundwork for last year’s “nuclear option” fight.

'Dr. No' Bids Farewell — and Continues to Forestall Senate Work

Dec. 11, 2014

In bidding farewell to the Senate — and perhaps to Washington — Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn dismissed some of the most common notions about the chamber.

GOP: Staffers Should Use Obamacare

Dec. 10, 2014

All Senate GOP staffers should get their health benefits through District of Columbia’s Obamacare exchange and not use a special carveout for committee and leadership staff, a resolution adopted by the Senate Republican Conference Wednesday said.

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