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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:

Ryan Staffing Up for Speaker's Office

Oct. 25, 2015

If he’s elected speaker Thursday, Paul D. Ryan plans to name David Hoppe — a man best known around the Capitol for his Senate experience — to be his chief of staff.

Popular Criminal Justice Bill Poses Political Risk

Oct. 23, 2015

Heading to the Senate floor, beware of Willie Horton.

Cruz: Senate Umpire Works for Us

Oct. 22, 2015

Updated 4:54 p.m. | GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz signaled the Senate parliamentarian should be ousted or ignored if a full repeal of Obamacare is deemed to violate budget rules.

Democrats Predict Same Pitfalls for a Speaker Ryan

Oct. 21, 2015

Democrats on both sides of the Rotunda see Paul D. Ryan as a reliable legislator, but someone likely to face the same pitfalls as his predecessor if elected speaker.

Senate Democrats Demand RNC Pay for Benghazi Probe

Oct. 21, 2015

Senate Democrats want the Republican National Committee to pick up the tab for the House investigation into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Senate Budget Talk on Hold for Debt Limit (Video)

Oct. 20, 2015

Senate Democrats have no interest in discussing a budget deal until the threat of a debt default is off the table.

Democrats Sink 'Sanctuary Cities' Crackdown

Oct. 20, 2015

Senate Democrats blocked consideration Tuesday of a bill designed to stop “sanctuary cities.”

Reid Says He's Team Ryan (Video)

Oct. 20, 2015

Updated 5:15 p.m. | House Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan just got an unwelcomed endorsement for speaker.

Rand Paul, Mick Mulvaney Fight 'Clean' Debt Limit Hike

Oct. 19, 2015

Conservative lawmakers are trying to fire up the base ahead of the next debt limit debate, even as one of them says the establishment could have the votes for a “clean” increase.

Debt Limit, Highways Wait as Republicans Tackle Sanctuary Cities

Oct. 19, 2015

Senators return to Washington this week facing a crush of must-pass legislation, but before the chamber can get to the debt limit or highway funding, Republicans want to express outrage over “sanctuary cities.”

Rand Paul Muses About President Rubio Bringing Nuclear War

Oct. 19, 2015

Does Sen. Rand Paul think having Marco Rubio in the Oval Office in an earlier era could have brought about a nuclear war with the Soviet Union?

Pelosi: Democrats 'Open' to Helping GOP Elect Speaker

Oct. 18, 2015

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signaled Saturday there could be “an openness” among at least some House Democrats to voting for a Republican speaker on the floor — and she suggested the GOP turmoil could help put Democrats back in charge come 2017.

Reid Backs Gaming Regulations for Fantasy Sports Sites

Oct. 17, 2015

The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s effort to require fantasy sports sites to have gambling licenses has won the backing of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Grassley Praises Reversal of 'Ham-Handed' Prison Pork Policy

Oct. 16, 2015

What happens when a farmer from Iowa is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee? Pork stays on the menu at federal prison cafeterias.

November Social Security Checks Could Hinge on Debt Deal

Oct. 15, 2015

Lawmakers have another reason to move quickly to address the debt ceiling: senior citizens.

Lew to Boehner: U.S. Runs Out of Cash in 19 Days

Oct. 15, 2015

Updated: 1:08 p.m. | In a new letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has moved up slightly the timetable for action on raising the debt limit.

Proposed Budweiser-Miller-Coors 'Beerhemoth' Draws Senate Scrutiny

Oct. 15, 2015

A proposed mega beer merger has the Senate’s attention.

Team Boehner: Debt Ceiling Deal 'Certainly Possible'

Oct. 14, 2015

John A. Boehner has said he wants to “clean the barn” of some unfinished legislative business before he steps down, and on Wednesday the speaker’s team confirmed that could include a deal to avoid a financial default by the federal government.

Presidential Candidates Avoid Nevada Brothel Debate

Oct. 14, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid caused quite a stir a few years back when he called for the elimination of legal prostitution in Nevada, but it seems presidential candidates won’t touch the issue.

Explaining the Cracks in Ted Cruz's State Department Blockade

Oct. 14, 2015

“I intend to block all nominees for the Department of State and hold any legislation that reauthorizes funds for the Department of State.”

Cruz, Gohmert Want Bust of Planned Parenthood Founder Removed

Oct. 13, 2015

Two Texas lawmakers are leading a call for a bust of a Planned Parenthood founder to be removed from the National Portrait Gallery.

Schumer and Reid Like the Lay of the Land in Senate Races

Oct. 13, 2015

Senate Democratic leaders are not being shy about their chances to move a handful of desks across the aisle and take back the chamber’s majority.

Judge Drops Multiple Charges Against Jesse Benton

Oct. 9, 2015

A federal judge in Iowa has tossed most of the charges against longtime Paul family advisers Jesse Benton and John Tate.

Senate Stunned Over House GOP Turmoil

Oct. 8, 2015

Word spread through the Capitol’s Senate corridors about House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy not seeking the speaker’s gavel just as senators were about to cast the final vote before a weeklong Columbus Day recess.

Rubio, Trump Begin to Spar Over Eminent Domain

Oct. 8, 2015

Long before Marco Rubio was running for president, and even before he was running for the Senate, the Florida Republican was tasked with crafting a state response to a Supreme Court case that had expanded the power of government.

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