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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:

Cruz: Kill Ex-Im Before Voting for Trade Promotion Authority

June 23, 2015

The effort to get “fast-track” trade authority for President Barack Obama has lost the support of one of the Republicans who could benefit from the powers if he became president in 2017.

NRSC Chairman Says Mississippi State Flag's Confederate Symbol Up to Voters

June 22, 2015

The head of the Senate GOP’s campaign committee says it is up to the people of his state to decide about possibly changing the Mississippi state flag, which includes a battle symbol of the Confederacy.

Calls to Remove Confederate Battle Flag Resonate at Capitol

June 22, 2015

Monday’s avalanche of opposition to flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol rang throughout the nation’s Capitol as well.

Schumer Eggs Republicans

June 22, 2015

The latest salvo in what’s looking to be a summer of sparring over spending? Eggs.

King Will Have Surgery for Prostate Cancer (Video)

June 22, 2015

Sen. Angus King will undergo surgery this week to address a prostate cancer diagnosis he received earlier this year.

McConnell Pledges 20-Week Abortion Ban Vote

June 19, 2015

Sandwiched between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knew he wouldn’t be the star.

Boehner Poaches New Press Secretary From the Senate

June 18, 2015

A longtime Senate spokeswoman is going back across the Rotunda to serve as press secretary for Speaker John A. Boehner.

Rand Paul Wants Internal GOP Debate Over Taxes

June 18, 2015

In unveiling his proposal to slash taxes to a single 14.5 percent marginal rate, Sen. Rand Paul wants a debate over whether the GOP should only seek to simplify the tax code.

Senate Dodges ISIS War Debate

June 18, 2015

Senators managed to duck a war debate Thursday while passing the National Defense Authorization Act and then immediately filibustering the Defense spending bill.

Senate's Defense Endgame Expected Thursday

June 17, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up to make the case that Democrats are flip-flopping on national security.

How Republicans Could Get Obama Trade Promotion Authority (Video)

June 16, 2015

House Republican leaders are mulling their options for forcing a vote on Trade Promotion Authority while saving reconsideration of Trade Adjustment Assistance for another day.

McCain Eager to Finish Defense Bill, but Amendment Landmines Remain

June 15, 2015

The defense policy bill could get off the Senate floor this week the easy way — or the hard way.

Menendez Confident Cuba Trade Embargo Will Hold

June 12, 2015

A Senate opponent of rolling back a U.S. embargo with Cuba says supporters are putting the financial benefits ahead of the well-being of the Cuban people.

A Sea of Smiles at Taste of Hawaii

June 11, 2015

If the Taste of Hawaii gets much bigger, it will take over Upper Senate Park.

House Republicans Claim Pre-emptive Baseball Victory on Wikipedia

June 11, 2015

Partisan sparring over the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game is well underway, including on Wikipedia.

Brian Schatz Steps Into Spotlight on College, Climate, Foreign Policy

June 11, 2015

Sen. Elizabeth Warren might have the biggest grass-roots megaphone in the Democratic caucus, and Charles E. Schumer is in line to be the next Democratic leader.

2016 Prospects Encouraged to Do the 'Full Grassley' in Iowa

June 10, 2015

Sen. Joni Ernst’s motorcycle ride and barbecue got most of the attention last weekend as Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa, but the state’s senior senator spent plenty of time with the presidential prospects as well.

Wyden Rips Plan to Attach 'Surveillance' Cybersecurity Bill to Defense Bill (Video)

June 9, 2015

The move to attach bipartisan cybersecurity legislation to an annual defense bill has prompted another debate over surveillance.

Chris Murphy Wants Vote to Ban Ground Combat in Iraq and Syria

June 9, 2015

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy wants to ensure U.S. ground forces aren’t sent back into combat in Iraq and Syria in the event a Republican wins the White House next year.

Amanda Carpenter Leaving Ted Cruz World

June 9, 2015

One of the most high-profile communicators on Capitol Hill — and in social media — is leaving to go back to writing under her own name.

Senators to Push for ISIS War Debate on State Department Bill (Updated)

June 8, 2015

Updated 6:13 p.m. | The efforts to force the Senate into a debate over the use of military force are continuing to grow.

McConnell: Only 'Local Boots on the Ground' Fighting in Iraq

June 8, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says despite the failings of the Iraqi army, he won’t be among those calling for a return of U.S. troops to the battlefield.

Senators Hope to Force Votes on War

June 5, 2015

Regular order means senators have to vote on amendments, and those votes can be rather difficult. And there are no more serious votes than those on war — ones the Senate has been ducking for years.

McConnell Puts Squeeze on New Obama Federal Judges

June 4, 2015

President Barack Obama shouldn’t be too optimistic about getting a lot of federal appeals court judges confirmed by the Senate.

Senate Adopts Plan to Halt Pentagon's 'Paid-for Patriotism' (Updated)

June 4, 2015

Updated 6:22 p.m. | A trio of senators, including the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, have won the support of their colleagues to block the Pentagon from spending taxpayer dollars to honor troops at sporting events.

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