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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:

Clinton Campaign Features @KevinMcCarthy — No, Not That One

Oct. 7, 2015

On Twitter, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy goes by @GOPLeader. He does not tweet as @kevinmccarthy. He does not tweet as @kevinmccarthy!

Finance Committee Probes Volkswagen for Tax Fraud

Oct. 7, 2015

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee are suggesting that Volkswagen, in cheating emissions tests, also committed a massive tax fraud.

Rand Paul Leads Call for Audit of Fetal Tissue Research

Oct. 6, 2015

A trio of the Senate’s Republican presidential candidates put their names on a letter also signed by a majority of the conference asking for a new inquiry into fetal tissue research.

Schumer Casts More Doubt on Big Highway and Tax Deal

Oct. 6, 2015

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is “not optimistic” about getting a big deal on international taxes to fund a robust highway bill.

Lautenberg's Widow Called Key on Toxic Substances Deal

Oct. 6, 2015

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker was arm-in-arm with the widow of a one-time political rival, Frank R. Lautenberg, Tuesday morning outside the Capitol.

Senators Form Unlikely Alliance on Veterans' Education

Oct. 6, 2015

When it comes to veterans issues, a seemingly unlikely partnership is emerging in the Senate between Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown and freshman Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

Reid: 'I Feel Bad' About the Matt Williams Firing

Oct. 6, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was measured Monday in lamenting the tough season for the Washington Nationals that led to the firing of the entire coaching staff.

Cotton Blocks Nominees After Secret Service Chaffetz Probe

Oct. 5, 2015

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., announced Monday he would place a hold on three ambassadorial nominations until there are consequences — and a criminal investigation — for Secret Service agents who allegedly accessed a congressman’s private records.

Toxic Substances Bill Filibuster-Proof ... When It Can Get to the Floor

Oct. 2, 2015

Whenever the Senate gets around to debating an overhaul of a toxic substance law, there will be 60 votes. But getting to the point of floor consideration has been complicated by the lack of a reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Tillis: Tobacco Carve-Out Could Kill TPP in the Senate

Oct. 1, 2015

North Carolina’s Senate delegation has renewed warnings over a proposal to leave the U.S. tobacco industry unprotected in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and one member is warning he could muster the votes to derail the proposed agreement.

Debt Limit Coming a Month Earlier Than Expected (Updated)

Oct. 1, 2015

Updated 5:56 p.m. | The Treasury Department said Thursday it would reach the debt limit a bit earlier than was expected by many on Capitol Hill.

A Tale of Two Republicans: McCarthy and McConnell

Oct. 1, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy knows one way to remain popular with conservatives is to trash the Senate, even if it is led by Republicans. But the California Republican, the front-runner to be the next speaker, will have to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to advance mutual interests.

Corker Wants Kerry to Testify About Putin, Syria

Sept. 30, 2015

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants to hear directly from Secretary of State John Kerry about the situation in Syria, as Russia has begun to conduct airstrikes.

Senate Sends House Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

Sept. 30, 2015

For a government funding vote that lagged until fiscal New Year’s Eve, this one was a snoozer.

Rand Paul: Ted Cruz 'Pretty Much Done For' in Senate

Sept. 29, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday said fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted. Cruz is “done for” in the Senate.

Deal-Hungry Senate Eager for Boehner's Halloween Treats (Video)

Sept. 29, 2015

Senators from both parties want outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, no longer handcuffed by hardliners in his conference, to send over as many treats as he can — with a minimum of tricks — before retiring around Halloween.

Cruz Slams Boehner for Not Leaving Immediately

Sept. 28, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz blasted outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner Monday for sticking around for a month after the Ohio Republican announced his intent to resign.

Schumer's Latest Target? The Price of Eyeglasses

Sept. 28, 2015

Sen. Charles E. Schumer thinks you’re paying too much for eyeglasses.

Boehner Exit Puts More Pressure on McConnell (Video)

Sept. 25, 2015

“Grace under pressure. Country and institution before self,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday, describing his impressions of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

After Sentencing 2 to Death, Former Judge Reflects on Pope, Capital Punishment

Sept. 25, 2015

When Pope Francis called for the death penalty to be abolished Thursday, there was at least one person in the audience who had condemned convicted criminals to death.

Path Toward 'Clean' Spending Stopgap Bill Emerges

Sept. 24, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday began laying the groundwork for the chamber to advance a “clean” continuing resolution in the coming days after Democrats and some Republicans banded together to block consideration of a stopgap with Planned Parenthood defunding language.

Cruz Dusts Off 2013 Shutdown Standoff Script

Sept. 24, 2015

“If Republican leadership actually tried to win, we would vote on one bill after another funding specific parts of the federal government.”

Tim Kaine: Catholic Church Should Ordain Women

Sept. 23, 2015

Sen. Tim Kaine is a Catholic lawmaker who has a particularly broad vision for what he would like to hear from Pope Francis this week.

Reid Hopes for Scrutiny of Bets on 'Fake' Sports (Video)

Sept. 22, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has never been a fan of fantasy sports, but the Nevada Democrat really wants the people in charge to figure out how to keep tabs on the money that’s changing hands.

McConnell Makes First Move as Government Shutdown Deadline Nears

Sept. 22, 2015

The Senate’s going first in the debate over how to fund the government past Sept. 30, just eight days from now.

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