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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:

McConnell Praises Wife, Campaign Manager on Election Night

Nov. 18, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised his wife Elaine Chao and campaign manager Josh Holmes at his election night gathering in Louisville on Nov. 4, calling Chao "the most valuable player on our team" and thanking Holmes for pitching "a perfect game.”

Next Congress to Formally Convene on Jan. 6, 2015

Nov. 14, 2014

Mark your calendars: The 114th Congress is planning to convene just a few days late.

White House Praises McConnell on Myanmar

Nov. 13, 2014

The man elected by his conference to be the next Senate majority leader actually won praise from the White House earlier in the day in Myanmar for his longstanding support of pro-democracy interests in that country.

Reid Unveils Leadership Team, Says 'Not Get Even Time' With GOP

Nov. 13, 2014

Sen. Harry Reid survived a four-hour meeting with his Democratic flock with his job as their leader intact, albeit without unanimous support, as he debuted three new members of his leadership team and promised to work with Republicans to legislate.

His leadership team has three new members: Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a moderate who is the new head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is chairwoman of Steering and Outreach; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has a newly created post to reach out to the progressive wing of the party.

"We have to continue fighting for the middle class," Reid said. "The middle class is what is concerning every one of my senators. They're not getting a fair shot and we are going to do everything we can in the 114th Congress to make sure the middle class of this great country of ours has a fair shot.”

Reid to Obama: Wait on Immigration Move (Updated)

Nov. 13, 2014

Updated Nov. 12 4:21 p.m. |Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he would like President Barack Obama to wait for Congress to pass legislation funding the government before he takes executive action giving deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.

Harry Reid Unveils New Leadership Team, Strategy (Video)

Nov. 13, 2014

Updated Nov. 13 7:02 |Sen. Harry Reid survived a four-hour meeting with his Democratic flock with his job as their leader intact, albeit without unanimous support, as he debuted three new members of his leadership team and promised to work with Republicans to legislate.

Obama Veto Pen Could Soon Get a Workout

Nov. 13, 2014

President Barack Obama might want to find some veto pens. A lot of them. After setting a modern record for fewest vetoes — just two early on in his presidency — thanks to a Democratic Senate, Republicans could soon be sending him reams of legislative cannon fodder.

Mitch McConnell Unanimously Elected Majority Leader by GOP (Updated) (Video)

Nov. 13, 2014

Updated 6:10 pm. | Senate Republicans have unanimously elected Mitch McConnell to be majority leader.

Enzi Hasn't Ruled Out Seeking Budget Gavel

Nov. 12, 2014

Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., hasn’t ruled out claiming his seniority on the Budget Committee and seeking the chairmanship against Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the panel’s current ranking member.

Elizabeth Warren Could Join Democratic Leadership

Nov. 12, 2014

Senate Democratic leaders are discussing the possibility of adding Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to their ranks, a source familiar with the conversations confirmed late Wednesday.

New Senate Republican Majority Wants Say in Iran Nuclear Deal

Nov. 12, 2014

Republicans are gearing up to try to force President Barack Obama to give Congress veto power over an agreement about nuclear weapons with Iran.

Executive Action on Immigration Could Imperil Omnibus, Cornyn Warns (Video)

Nov. 12, 2014

The No. 2 Senate Republican said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s plans to take executive action on immigration could endanger bipartisan efforts to craft an omnibus spending bill in the lame-duck session.

McConnell: Obama Acting Alone on Immigration 'Would Be a Big Mistake'

Nov. 12, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned President Barack Obama Wednesday about taking widely expected unilateral moves on immigration while laying out agenda items for the lame-duck session.

“There’s a lot both parties can accomplish together over the next couple years. I hope that happens. I’m optimistic. But working together requires trust,” McConnell said on the floor. “I think President Obama has a duty to help build the trust we all need to move forward together, not to double-down on old ways of doing business.”

“That’s why I think moving forward with the unilateral action on immigration he’s planned would be a big mistake,” McConnell said.

Visa Agreement With China Draws Senate Cheers

Nov. 11, 2014

The deal announced Monday that makes it easier for Chinese business people, tourists and students to stay in the United States longer won applause from senators on both sides of the aisle, especially Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Leahy Sticks With Judiciary, Supports Mikulski at Appropriations

Nov. 11, 2014

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy has put to rest any speculation that he might seek to assert seniority to become ranking member on the Appropriations Committee in the next Congress.

Could Obama-McConnell Liquor Choice Invite Look at Bourbon Laws?

Nov. 7, 2014

There was no sign of brown liquor President Barack Obama’s Friday lunch meeting with bipartisan political leaders, but the bourbon industry is using renewed attention to press its own lobbying interests.

Mitch McConnell's Republicans Face Governing Test

Nov. 6, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The next Senate majority leader is vowing a far more open chamber next year — one that works longer and doesn’t avoid tough votes. But it won’t be easy.

King Seeks Dealmaker Role in Reversed Senate, Stays in Democratic Caucus

Nov. 5, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Independent Maine Sen. Angus King is remaining in the Democratic caucus, but it’s clear he views himself as a bridge between the two sides.

After Catching a Wave, Senate Republicans Look to Legislate

Nov. 5, 2014

Having emerged from an Election Day that many Republicans only dreamed of, the Senate Republicans’ campaign chairman was already looking forward to a Senate starting to function again.

McConnell Warns Senate Control Could Be Unclear Until January

Nov. 4, 2014

BOWLING GREEN, Ky., — At the end of a full day of flying around the Bluegrass State, Sen. Mitch McConnell presented the state of play on the national landscape like a prognosticator instead of a pol who holds the title of Senate minority leader.

Rand Paul: Let D.C. Legalize Marijuana, If Voters Want

Nov. 4, 2014

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — As District of Columbia voters are seemingly poised to approve a ballot item to allow cultivation and possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use, the Republican in charge of a subpanel with D.C. oversight says home rule should prevail.

McConnell Eyes the Prize as Grimes Hopes for Grand Upset (Updated)

Nov. 3, 2014

Updated 8:09 a.m., Nov. 4 | LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Standing in front of the Team Mitch bus in an airport hangar, former Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao proclaimed “I’m the proud wife of the next majority leader of the United States Senate.”

Hal Rogers Eager for Majority Leader McConnell

Nov. 3, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The man in charge of writing spending bills in the House sounds downright excited for the possibility of fellow Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell becoming Senate majority leader next year.

Reid: Iowa Loss Would Mean Republican Senate Majority (Updated)

Nov. 1, 2014

Updated 3:27 p.m., Nov. 1 | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have just unwittingly given Minority Leader McConnell something to smile about.

Rogers Begins Work on Possible Lame Duck Omnibus

Oct. 31, 2014

Away from the din of the campaign, House and Senate appropriations staffers are quietly laying the groundwork for an ambitious wrap-up spending package in the lame duck.

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