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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:

Winners and Losers in the Omnibus and Tax Bills

Dec. 16, 2015

Both Democrats and Republicans won a few and lost a few in the $1.1 trillion spending bill and package of tax extensions that congressional negotiators agreed on late Tuesday.

Did Ted Cruz Disclose Classified Information?

Dec. 15, 2015

Did Sen. Ted Cruz disclose classified information on national television?

Corker's Lowball Financial Disclosure — a Symptom of a Bigger Problem?

Dec. 15, 2015

Reading through the addendum to Sen. Bob Corker’s financial disclosure, you might think the Tennessee Republican had been seriously misreporting assets and income.

Let's Make an Omnibus Deal

Dec. 15, 2015

As negotiators released their year-end appropriations package and tax extenders bill late Tuesday, leaders began selling it to their members and preparing for a series of votes Thursday that would bring the 2015 legislative session to a close.

Portman's Communication Director Leaving for Family Reunion

Dec. 14, 2015

Sen. Rob Portman’s communications director Caitlin Conant is decamping for Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, where she’ll join her husband.

Heading Into Endgame, McConnell Declares 'Dysfunction is Over'

Dec. 14, 2015

He may be fond of saying there’s no education in the second kick of a mule, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is plotting another run at a functioning appropriations process in 2016.

Omnibus Timeline Appears to Be Slipping Past Monday

Dec. 14, 2015

Aides and others familiar with the process are not optimistic that the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill and a package of tax extensions would be ready to be posted by midnight Monday.

Mitch McConnell: New War Authorization Not Happening Anytime Soon

Dec. 11, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed President Barack Obama’s call for new authority to use force to combat the Islamic State.

Trump Comments Spark Senate Fireworks

Dec. 10, 2015

“Is it in the national interest to admit the ISIS member equally with the Buddhist?”

Cruz Strikes Back on Rubio's Patriot Act Attacks

Dec. 10, 2015

Facing accusations from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that he’s supported weakening surveillance powers, presidential rival and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas hit back against his rival on Thursday.

9/11 Responder Health Care Renewal Gets a Boost

Dec. 10, 2015

The effort to renew health care programs for those who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is moving closer to a resolution, with some New York Republicans saying Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has assured his colleagues the renewal would be in the year-end spending package.

Congress and the Omnibus Endgame: It's 'Complicated'

Dec. 9, 2015

“It’s all complicated. Every day is complicated.”

GOP Elders Critical of Trump's Muslim Comments

Dec. 8, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not wait to be asked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to exclude Muslims from entering the United States.

Tensions Rise as Omnibus Bill Negotiations Stall

Dec. 8, 2015

Congress will most certainly miss its Friday deadline to wrap up an omnibus spending package to fund the government, and the stalled talks on that measure led to a testy environment on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

RNC Scraps New York City Fundraising Dinner After Ryan Can't Attend

Dec. 8, 2015

A big-ticket fundraiser benefiting the Republican National Committee is being called off because of the House schedule.

Durbin: 'All Hell Will Break Loose' Over Abortion Language in Spending Bill

Dec. 8, 2015

The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat warned Tuesday that “all hell will break loose,” if Republicans force the issue on abortion language in the year-end omnibus bill.

Negotiations on Year-End Legislation 'Stuck'

Dec. 7, 2015

As members hurried from the Capitol Monday evening for White House Christmas festivities, hopes for a holiday adjournment this week were growing more dim.

As Omnibus Timeline Slips, House Preps Weekend Work

Dec. 7, 2015

The House majority leader does not see an end in sight for negotiations on taxes and spending, increasing the likelihood that debate will slip long enough to need a stopgap funding bill to keep the government open.

New Yorkers Look to Avoid More 9/11 'Collateral Damage'

Dec. 7, 2015

“I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Rep. Peter T. King said, worrying that Congress is turning its back on 9/11 first responders. The Long Island Republicans added his biggest fear is that those exposed to Ground Zero’s horrors will be “collateral damage” because the expired Zadroga Act that funds their health care needs won’t find a way onto any of the year-end tax or spending bills.

Spending and Taxes Spur Christmas Rush

Dec. 7, 2015

Before heading home for the holidays, lawmakers will have to navigate divisions over a catch-all spending bill to avoid shutting down the government. The continuing resolution currently funding the government expires Dec. 11.

Jon Stewart Returns to Fight for 9/11 First Responder Health Care

Dec. 3, 2015

Comedian Jon Stewart returned to Capitol Hill Thursday to urge lawmakers to renew health care programs firefighters, police officers, servicemen and women, and construction workers who responded to Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks.

Graham: Fight ISIS to Prevent More San Bernardino Shootings

Dec. 3, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the way to prevent more mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday is to “make ISIL the losers they are.”

Reid Calls the NRA a GOP 'Quasi-Militant Wing' (Updated)

Dec. 3, 2015

Updated 12:46 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid lashed out on the National Rifle Association on Thursday as he served notice Democrats would push gun violence amendments during the Senate vote-a-rama on a budget bill.

As San Bernardino Shooting Unfolds, Reid Pushes Guns Measure (Updated)

Dec. 2, 2015

Updated 10:29 a.m. | Following Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the Democrats will call for “a few” votes on gun-related amendments to the budget reconciliation bill during Thursday’s session.

McCain Outlines GOP Risk in 2016

Dec. 2, 2015

Sen. John McCain is standing by his man in the GOP presidential race, but that isn’t keeping him from weighing in on other senators in the running.

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