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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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: Myanmar Must 'Assume Responsibility' for the Rohingya

June 4, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday the government of Myanmar needs to address the human-rights crisis involving the Rohingya.

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.

Senate Subcommittee Planning Hearing on FIFA Scandal

June 3, 2015

In the wake of the scandal that’s rocked FIFA, the international soccer governing body, a Senate subcommittee is getting ready for a hearing on human rights in Qatar.

Democrats Push McConnell on Ex-Im, Highway Bill Extensions

June 3, 2015

Emboldened by their victory in the debate over surveillance powers, Senate Democrats are hoping to push Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on other high-profile items facing a time crunch, starting with a bipartisan reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which the Kentucky Republican opposes but the GOP’s business wing supports. The bank charter expires at the end of this month.

Rubio: Next President Will Have to Restore Intelligence Powers

June 2, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the next president will have to reverse damage done to the national security apparatus by the USA Freedom Act.

McConnell and Reid Feud: 'He Doesn't Get to Schedule the Senate Anymore' (Video)

June 2, 2015

The Senate’s leaders traded unusually harsh and personal words on the floor Tuesday afternoon, just before a clear majority rejected Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s arguments against an overhaul of lapsed Patriot Act surveillance authorities.

Elizabeth Warren Blasts SEC's Mary Jo White (Updated)

June 2, 2015

Updated 11:47 a.m. | In the aftermath of a meeting last month between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White, the Massachusetts Democrat is detailing her disappointment with the top securities regulator, including about campaign finance.

Reid Keeps Filibuster in Pocket, Says McCain Is Wasting His Time With Defense Bill (Video)

June 2, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., thinks Armed Services Chairman John McCain is going to be wasting his time managing the defense authorization bill on the floor over the next few weeks.

Appropriations Bills Face Democratic Roadblock

June 1, 2015

It might be too early to put the nail in the coffin of the fiscal 2016 appropriations process, but get your hammer ready.

Appealing to Hawks, Lindsey Graham Jumps Into 2016 Presidential Ring

June 1, 2015

Updated 2:42 p.m. | Just hours after Sen. Rand Paul claimed a temporary victory in his quest to rein in the National Security Agency, the leader of what the Kentucky Republican blasted as the “eye-roll caucus” threw his own hat into the 2016 presidential ring.

Leahy Recalls Seeing Beau Biden in Iraq (Video)

May 31, 2015

The Senate’s rare Sunday session convened on a somber note, mourning the loss of a son of the chamber’s president.

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