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Niels Lesniewski

Bio:

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:

Ted Cruz Doesn't Disavow SCF Call to Defund NRSC

July 1, 2014

A conservative outside group whose efforts Sen. Ted Cruz backed has called for defunding the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Wyden: 'Why Hasn't the Bulk Collection of Americans' Phone Records Been Ended?'

June 30, 2014

Sen. Ron Wyden is raising additional concerns about "backdoor" queries of communications by American citizens by federal intelligence and law enforcement authorities.

During an open hearing on June 5, the Oregon Democrat pressed the Obama administration about the collection of records.

"Why hasn't the bulk collection of Americans' phone records been ended?" Wyden said. "The fact that this dragnet surveillance is taking place right now is unacceptable to me."

Senate Democrats Eye End Run Around Hobby Lobby Case (Updated)

June 30, 2014

Updated 2:19 p.m. | Senate Democrats plan to “fight” to ensure women retain access through their insurance to contraceptives, after the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.

Wyden Continues to Blast Obama Administration on 'Backdoor' Surveillance (Video)

June 30, 2014

Sen. Ron Wyden is raising additional concerns about “backdoor” queries of communications by American citizens by federal intelligence and law enforcement authorities.

Harry Reid Would Rather Watch Tennis Than the NFL

June 27, 2014

Maybe Dan Synder isn’t worried about Harry Reid because professional football is not the Nevada Democrat’s favorite sport.

McConnell Announces Passing of Former Majority Leader Howard Baker

June 26, 2014

The Senate is mourning the loss of one of the chamber's great leaders.

Former Majority Leader Howard Baker Jr., R-Tenn., has died. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made the announcement on the floor of the Senate.

"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of the Senate's most towering figures: Senator Howard Baker. The Senate sends its sincere condolences to the family of Senator Baker," the Kentucky Republican said.

Senate Mourns Passing of Former Majority Leader Howard Baker (Video)

June 26, 2014

The Senate is mourning the loss of one of the chamber’s great leaders.

Bipartisan Patch Job for Highway Bill Coming Together

June 26, 2014

A big fight over how to best avert a crisis in highway construction projects won’t happen before the July Fourth recess, and there might be a deal to avoid the fight altogether.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama's Recess Appointments

June 26, 2014

A unanimous Supreme Court struck down President Barack Obama’s disputed recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, saying that the Senate was not technically in recess because it was holding pro forma sessions.

GOP Won't Shut Down Government to Block 'War on Coal,' Thune Predicts

June 26, 2014

A top Senate Republican predicted the GOP’s fight against the EPA’s “war on coal” won’t lead to a government shutdown.

Schumer, McCain Hold Court at Breakfast

June 25, 2014

Sen. Charles E. Schumer and John McCain met with reporters for nearly an hour Wednesday morning. Together. On the record.

Boxer Cheers Cochran Primary Win, Sees Lesson for Transportation Bill

June 25, 2014

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., cheered the GOP primary win of Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi on Wednesday and said she hoped his winning message of bringing back money to Mississippi would be a lesson to to other senators.

Camp: Grassley Targeted By Lois Lerner at IRS

June 25, 2014

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said Wednesday that a former Senate Finance chairman was among those targeted for extra scrutiny by the IRS.

Reid: Not Funding Highway Bill Would Be 'A Real Shame'

June 24, 2014

When the Senate returns from the July Fourth recess, lawmakers will have just about two weeks to fix a shortfall in funds for federally-backed highway projects, with both parties again in a dispute over taxes.

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., made a presentation during Tuesday's caucus lunch, and after Majority Leader Harry Reid said not funding surface transportation would be "a real shame" at his weekly news conference.

Wyden said Tuesday the trust fund will go out of balance on July 18.

Coburn: 'More Than 1,000 Veterans May Have Died' Thanks to VA Misconduct

June 24, 2014

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., contends that the Department of Veterans Affairs may be responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 veterans.

Ahead of Recess, Highway Bill Standoff Gets Political (Video)

June 24, 2014

When the Senate returns from the July Fourth recess, lawmakers will have just about two weeks to fix a shortfall in funds for federally-backed highway projects, with both parties again in a dispute over taxes.

Senators Seek More Information About Targeted Killings With Drones (Video)

June 23, 2014

Two Senate Democrats want the public to know more about the rules behind the targeted killing of American citizens using drones.

White House Threatened Veto of Spending Bill Over McConnell Amendment (Updated)

June 19, 2014

Updated 2:44 p.m. | Top senators signaled the White House threatened to veto a Senate spending bill over a possible amendment from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to block EPA power plant regulations.

Reid Parks 'Minibus' Spending Bill in Amendment Dispute

June 19, 2014

Well, so much for that idea.

Democrats Ducking Vote on 'War on Coal' Amendment — for Now

June 18, 2014

The war over the “war on coal” has been postponed after Democrats pushed off a second fiscal 2015 spending bill in the Senate.

Reid, Cantwell Cheer Cancellation of Redskins Trademark (Video)

June 18, 2014

Two of the Senate’s leading critics of Washington Redskins name and team owner Dan Snyder were quick to take the Senate floor to praise the Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to strip the team of its trademarks.

Reid, Cantwell Cheer Cancellation of Redskins Trademark

June 18, 2014

Two of the Senate's leading critics of Washington Redskins name and team owner Dan Snyder were quick to take the Senate floor to praise the Patent and Trademark Office's decision to strip the team of its trademarks.

First came Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a former chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, who has spearheaded efforts to get the name changed. On the floor, she criticized the Redskins monicker as a slur.

"We're so excited to know that finally people are recognizing that this issue can no longer be a business case for the NFL to use this patent," Cantwell said. "They will not be able to forcefully exclude other people from having derivatives of this logo or the name."

McConnell Plots Coal Amendment to Energy Spending Bill

June 17, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning an amendment to an upcoming spending bill that could put the brakes on the EPA’s plans to implement new regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants.

Reid Won't Attend Anymore Redskins Home Games

June 16, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has no interest in attending a Washington Redskins game until the football team changes its name.

McConnell Pays Tribute to Jim Bunning's Perfect Game

June 13, 2014

It was Father's Day 50 years ago that former Sen. Jim Bunning made history, pitching a perfect game at Shea Stadium.

The Kentucky Republican's hall of fame career featured no shortage of milestones, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn't let the anniversary go by without a tribute to his former colleague — a man with whom he at times famously disagreed.

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