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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:

At White House Celebration of Disability Law, Obama Leaves Treaty Aside

July 20, 2015

When President Barack Obama hailed the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, he didn’t make mention of a treaty on disabilities that’s been stymied in the Senate.

Obama Names Nominee to Federal Reserve Board

July 20, 2015

President Barack Obama has chosen a University of Michigan economist with expertise in financial markets and monetary policy for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

Cruz and Vitter to Target Congressional Health Care

July 20, 2015

Sen. David Vitter’s crusade against congressional health care benefits will continue this week, this time with help from a presidential hopeful.

Schumer to Weigh In on Iran Deal After Review in 'Little Chair'

July 17, 2015

Sen. Charles E. Schumer might have more to say about the deal with Iran about its nuclear development after some time in his “little chair.”

Rand Paul Bringing Abortion Politics to Highway Bill Debate

July 17, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul appears to be plotting to bring the debate over abortion to the highway bill.

McConnell Uses Clout to Help Hemp Industry

July 16, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be the best friend in Washington for the nascent industrial hemp industry.

Senate Passes No Child Left Behind Rewrite

July 16, 2015

No Child Left Behind is a step closer to a major overhaul giving far more flexibility to states to act — or not — on poorly performing schools.

Campaigning in the Capitol Is Tricky Business (Video)

July 16, 2015

Let’s say you’re running for president. Your opinion on a major policy issue is sought after by journalists and voters alike. As a senator, you can step in front of one of the Capitol’s many microphones at pretty much any point and command an audience. But now that you’re seeking the presidential nomination, things get a little trickier.

On Iran Deal, Mark Kirk Continues Hitler, Chamberlain Analogy

July 15, 2015

When the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran was announced in April, Sen. Mark S. Kirk said, “Neville Chamberlain got a better deal from Adolf Hitler.”

FIFA Called Out as a Crime Syndicate at Senate Hearing (Video)

July 15, 2015

Seldom do you hear people described as “dirty slimebags” at a Senate hearing.

Cruz, Lee Promise Highway Bill Traffic Jam Over Ex-Im Bank

July 15, 2015

If senators want to revive the Export-Import Bank as part of the upcoming highway bill debate, they’re going to have to do it the hard way.

Senate Democrats Warn White House on Iran Arms Embargo

July 13, 2015

Ending the arms embargo on Iran — something White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to rule out Monday — is causing the administration trouble with Capitol Hill Democrats.

Taylor Swift Concert at Nats Park or Political Fundraiser?

July 13, 2015

When senators finished voting for the evening Monday, at least a couple of them were heading to Nationals Park — not for an evening of baseball, but rather to use a pop sensation to raise campaign money. Music star Taylor Swift is in town for a pair of concerts over the All-Star break.

Harry Reid Talks Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

July 13, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used to raise money for him and that he really likes Hillary Rodham Clinton, even if he hasn’t formally endorsed her presidential bid quite yet.

Sanders, Warren Want Cable TV Price Probe

July 10, 2015

Perhaps Sen. Bernard Sanders should adapt a line from a former New York gubernatorial candidate and declare he thinks the cost of cable television is too damn high.

Hillary Clinton to Visit Senate Democrats at Lunch

July 10, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to attend the July 14 Senate Democratic caucus lunch, a senior Democratic aide told CQ Roll Call.

The Obama and Reid National Monument (Updated)

July 10, 2015

UPDATED 3:40 p.m. | President Barack Obama’s move to designate a trio of new national monuments includes “a defining legacy” of his time in the White House.

McConnell Criticizes Lack of Constitutional Overhaul in Myanmar

July 9, 2015

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor Thursday morning to express frustration about the pace of change in Myanmar.

Bill Nelson to Have Prostate Cancer Surgery

July 9, 2015

Sen. Bill Nelson is scheduled to undergo surgery on July 13, after an early diagnosis of prostate cancer.

FIFA Scandal Getting the Senate's Attention Next Week

July 9, 2015

The soccer community’s attention will shift next week from the pitch in Vancouver to a hearing room in Washington, D.C.

Lindsey Graham Makes Case for War

July 8, 2015

Perhaps more than any other presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham enjoys telling people to vote for somebody else.

Obama Tells Democrats Iran Deal Odds Below 50 Percent

July 8, 2015

During his meeting Tuesday evening with Senate Democrats, President Barack Obama put the chances of success on the international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program at less than 50-50.

After Trade Triumph, Senate Republicans Look to Rack Up More Wins (Video)

July 7, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate is on a roll — and he wants to make sure it stays that way.

Extension of Iran Nuclear Talks Could Save August Recess

July 7, 2015

News of yet another extension of the deadline for nuclear talks with Iran might prove a boon for lawmakers and staffers with plans to get out of town in August.

Senators Running for President Defend the Filibuster

July 7, 2015

If using the nuclear option to repeal Obamacare becomes a GOP litmus test, then the Republican senators running for president will have a problem.

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