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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:

Boxer Wants Corker to Delay Iran Review Legislation

April 9, 2015

As Foreign Relations Committee Democrats begin to float amendments to legislation designed to give Congress a voice in a nuclear security agreement with Iran, one of them is asking the panel’s chairman to delay the measure entirely.

Murphy, Blumenthal Confident About Friendly Bet on Women's Basketball Title Game

April 7, 2015

The Connecticut and Indiana Senate delegations have made a rather sweet wager ahead of Tuesday night’s NCAA women’s basketball championship game in Florida, and the Connecticut senators are sounding pretty confident.

Harry Reid Still 'Sightless' In Right Eye (Video)

April 7, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid went through multiple surgeries, but vision has not returned to his right eye.

Rand Paul's 'Read the Bills' Resolution Doesn't Do Much

April 7, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal to require his Senate colleagues to read bills before voting on them would be almost wholly symbolic.

Rand Paul's Message to Iran

April 7, 2015

Ahead of his rollout of his presidential campaign, Sen. Rand Paul’s team is already pushing back against charges that the Kentucky Republican is weak on Iran.

McConnell Skeptical of Iran Deal After Leading Freshmen on Middle East Trip

April 6, 2015

Fresh off a trip to the Middle East, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reaffirmed Monday afternoon that his chamber would weigh in legislatively regarding the framework agreement between the United States, Iran and other nations involved in the negotiations.

GOP Hawks Quick to Blast Iran Framework (Video)

April 2, 2015

Not long after President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry separately announced a framework agreement for a nuclear deal with Iran, one GOP senator was already likening it to appeasement.

Senators Want 2018 World Cup Taken Away From Putin

April 1, 2015

A bipartisan coalition of 13 senators is asking soccer’s governing body to give consideration to relocating the 2018 World Cup out of Russia, citing the the incursion into the territory of Ukraine.

Menendez Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges (Updated)

April 1, 2015

Updated 8:31 p.m. | After months of rumor and speculation, Sen. Robert Menendez has finally been indicted on corruption charges.

Patty Murray Backs Schumer for Leader

March 30, 2015

BOSTON — Having won the backing of the entire leadership team, New York’s Charles E. Schumer might become the next Senate Democratic leader by acclamation.

Remembering Ted Kennedy, in Senate Session of Sorts

March 30, 2015

BOSTON — “Lord. What an amazing day this has been,” Senate Chaplain Barry Black said, offering an opening prayer for a session of a replica chamber constructed as the centerpiece of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.

Even Senators Are Awestruck by Ted Kennedy's Senate Chamber

March 30, 2015

BOSTON — There are few places in the political world as awe inspiring as the Senate chamber, but there’s now a pretty darn good modern replica that will be a living legacy for the liberal lion, Edward M. Kennedy.

McConnell Praises 'Son of Searchlight'

March 27, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has had no shortage of battles with his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid of Nevada over the years, but when the minority leader announced his retirement Friday, the Kentucky Republican offered kind words.

Reid, Durbin Endorse Schumer as Next Leader (Updated) (Video)

March 27, 2015

Updated 4:36 p.m. | Some senators and aides may have barely awoken after a late-night budget vote-a-rama by the time not only had the chamber’s minority leader announced his retirement, but the gears were turning toward a succession plan.

Live, On Periscope, From the Vote-a-Rama

March 26, 2015

For a pair of Republican senators, the budget vote-a-rama seemed like a great time to demonstrate they aren’t luddites.

Senators Launch Effort to 'Cut Red Tape'

March 26, 2015

“People don’t get up every morning and read the Federal Register.”

Deal on Kirk's Iran Amendment Leads to Unanimous Vote

March 26, 2015

As evening approached in the Senate’s budget vote-a-rama, lawmakers found some common ground on Iran. A 100-0 vote followed.

Rand Paul Backs More Defense Spending — If It's Paid For (Updated)

March 26, 2015

Updated 9:14 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul doesn’t have a problem with increasing the defense budget, but he wants real offsets.

Vote-a-Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

March 26, 2015

Senators aren’t making law as they complete work on the budget resolution, but for those facing the voters in 2016, the affair is riddled with political landmines, often set deliberately by the other party.

Harry Reid, GOP Senators Join Forces to Approve Highway (Updated)

March 25, 2015

Updated 6:11 p.m. | Harry Reid’s bid to push a new highway through Nevada before he faces the voters next year has a powerful Republican ally — James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Kirk Blasts 'Ayatollah Stole My Homework' Excuse on Iran Talks, Plots Budget Amendment

March 24, 2015

Sen. Mark S. Kirk said Tuesday he would introduce an amendment to the budget resolution recommending new sanctions on Iran if no nuclear deal is reached.

Lynch's Republican Backers Holding Firm

March 24, 2015

GOP supporters of President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general are sticking by her, meaning Loretta Lynch is still on track for confirmation — if she can ever get a vote.

At Liberty, Ted Cruz Speaks to the Faithful (Updated)

March 23, 2015

Updated 4:01 p.m. | LYNCHBURG, Va. — The Senate’s longest week kicked off some 180 miles southwest of the Capitol, with a presidential campaign announcement by one of the chamber’s conservative firebrands, Sen. Ted Cruz.

Democrats Outline Floor Strategy for Budget Battle

March 23, 2015

Senate and House Democrats face different challenges in responding to the budget blueprints on the floors of their respective chambers, but they’re operating from much the same playbook.

Cruz's Liberty Speech: Why It's Happening Monday

March 22, 2015

LYNCHBURG, Va. — The night before Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to deliver a speech launching his 2016 presidential bid, the Texas Republican’s political operation sent a text message to supporters, telling them to pay attention.

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