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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:

Democrats Block Abortion Ban, Set Up Funding Fight

Sept. 22, 2015

Democrats successfully blocked the Senate from taking up a bill to bar abortions after 20 weeks, a vote that helps lay the groundwork for keeping the government’s doors open.

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.

Harry Reid: 'Shame on Dr. Carson' for Muslim Remarks

Sept. 21, 2015

Flanked by a chart showing a headstone of a Muslim-American member of the U.S. Army, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called out GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson by name Monday.

Abortion Vote a Prelude to Senate's Shutdown Watch

Sept. 21, 2015

The Senate will start its week debating abortion, but it’s far from certain Tuesday’s symbolic vote will diffuse the tension over Planned Parenthood funding enough to avert a government shutdown.

Senate Democrats Cheer Donald Trump for Bashing Tax Loopholes

Sept. 17, 2015

Elizabeth Warren is praising Donald Trump.

Senate GOP Plans Abortion Debate After More Iran Deal Votes

Sept. 15, 2015

Senators will have another chance to break a filibuster and disapprove of the Iran deal Tuesday evening — but there’s no expectation the dynamic will change.

Special Prosecutor for Clinton Emails Would Be a Waste of Money, Leahy Says

Sept. 15, 2015

Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy on Tuesday compared a Republican request for a special counsel to probe the email server used by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to something from “Alice in Wonderland.”

Pre-emptive Shutdown Strikes: Democrats Already Target GOP

Sept. 15, 2015

A progressive outside group is going on the offensive ahead of the government spending standoff that will take place in the coming weeks, and another political action committee has a shutdown countdown clock.

Bernie Sanders Journeys to Conservative Ground Zero

Sept. 14, 2015

LYNCHBURG, Va. — It isn’t every day a self-identified socialist speaks to a mandatory assembly at a college that has counted the “total rejection of socialism” among its values.

John McCain Entertains 'Nuclear Option' to Reject Iran Deal (Video)

Sept. 11, 2015

Sen. John McCain said Friday he would be willing to look at using the “nuclear option” to advance legislation against the Iran deal.

Democrats Block Iran Deal Disapproval (Updated)

Sept. 10, 2015

Updated: 5:27 p.m. | The Senate debate on the Iran deal will continue through next week, after a cloture vote failed 58-42 Thursday.

Ted Cruz Warns Banks Could Be Liable Over Iran Deal

Sept. 10, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz wants House and Senate leadership to tell U.S. banks they could be criminally liable if they release money to Iran, even after President Barack Obama relieves sanctions pursuant to the international nuclear agreement.

Sanders, Cummings Push for Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Sept. 10, 2015

On a day new polling showed him pulling ahead in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders was at the Capitol, pushing to cut prescription drug prices.

A 'Perfect Storm' on Budget, Debt and Taxes? (Video)

Sept. 9, 2015

The uncertainty about the House’s approach to voting on the Iran nuclear deal is prompting warnings about the rest of the legislative branch’s lengthy to-do list this fall.

Grassley Warns of 'Floodgates' Opening for Syrian Refugees

Sept. 9, 2015

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman says the Obama administration is considering allowing a large influx of refugees from Syria into the United States.

House Republican Tells Senate to Go 'Nuclear' Over the Iran Deal

Sept. 8, 2015

With the Iran deal disapproval now facing a real filibuster threat in the Senate, a call has come from across the Capitol for the Senate to go nuclear.

Bob Corker: Expected to Need 60 Votes to Finish Iran Debate

Sept. 8, 2015

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hopes Democrats don’t thwart the Iran deal disapproval resolution with a filibuster, but he always knew it was possible.

Lindsey Graham Floats Emergency Supplemental for Syrian Refugee Crisis

Sept. 8, 2015

The State Department’s top Senate appropriator said Tuesday he would be willing to advance an emergency supplemental to address the crisis of Syrian refugees.

Senate Democrats Can Block Iran Deal Disapproval (Updated)

Sept. 8, 2015

Updated 6:23 p.m. | The path to block disapproval of the Iran deal from ever getting out of the Senate appeared to be at hand Tuesday, just after Minority Leader Harry Reid made the case for why doing that should be perfectly acceptable.

Iran Deal Done: With Mikulski, Obama Has All the Votes He Needs

Sept. 2, 2015

A week before Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and fellow GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump plan to rally against it with conservative media personality Glenn Beck, the Iran deal is a done deal.

Could Tobacco Carveout Kill TPP?

Sept. 2, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s rocky road in Congress faces a fresh threat from tobacco-state senators.

Chris Coons Ready to Stump for Biden in Iowa

Sept. 1, 2015

NEWARK, Del. — If Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., decides to run for president in 2016, Sen. Chris Coons is ready to hit the campaign trail.

Iran Deal on the Verge of Senate Success (Updated) (Video)

Sept. 1, 2015

Update 2:36 p.m. | NEWARK, Del. — The Democratic senator who holds the seat long occupied by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has put the Obama administration on the verge of victory on the Iran deal.

McConnell Expects to Cut Budget Deal, Avert Shutdown (Video)

Aug. 31, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that funding the government is the top challenge facing him when he returns to the Capitol next week.

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