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See photos from the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game — slideshow sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP.

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:

Senate Reaches Trafficking Deal, Teeing Up Loretta Lynch Confirmation (Updated) (Video)

April 21, 2015

Updated 10:41 a.m. | Loretta Lynch can expect to be confirmed as the next attorney general within a day or two after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal on a sex trafficking bill that had been tied up in abortion politics for weeks.

Legislative Deadlines for Presidential Candidates to Watch

April 21, 2015

There’s no shortage of deadlines in 2015 that will put the national media spotlight on Capitol Hill, even as much of the attention is on shooting ranges, ballrooms and diners in early presidential states.

Rand Paul Calls GOP Hawks Obama 'Lap Dogs'

April 21, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday he thinks fellow Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are, in effect, “lap dogs” for President Barack Obama.

Manchin Is Staying in the Senate

April 19, 2015

Sen. Joe Manchin III will not be taking any country roads home to West Virginia any time soon.

Cruz Iran Letter Uses the Royal 'We' — Briefly

April 17, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz fired off a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Friday that declared “we” are making requests for the countries involved in the Iran talks — even though no other senators signed the letter.

For Lynch, Next Week Just Might Be the Week

April 17, 2015

At the end of a week that saw bipartisanship break out all around the Senate, Loretta Lynch remained in limbo.

Wyden Knows His Challenge on Trade: Fellow Democrats

April 17, 2015

“Trade has never been for the faint-hearted,” Sen. Ron Wyden said Friday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing a bipartisan agreement on legislation to promote trade deals.

Reps. Stefanik, Comstock Join Launch of 'Empowered Women' Effort

April 16, 2015

More than 200 people, including no shortage of current and former congressional aides, gathered Wednesday evening to launch a new platform for conservative-leaning women.

What 'Abolish the IRS' Really Means

April 16, 2015

“Abolish the IRS” is a popular Republican refrain, getting time on the campaign trail and promotion from the Republican National Committee. But don’t take the catch phrase literally.

With Capitol in Sight, Postal Customers Struggle to Pay Their Taxes

April 16, 2015

The irony was unmistakable.

Graham Questions Why Police Didn't Shoot Down the Gyrocopter

April 15, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the gyrocopter that prompted a security scare after landing on the West Front of the Capitol Wednesday should have been taken out while in the air.

Unanimous Foreign Relations Vote Puts Iran Bill on Warpspeed

April 14, 2015

In the end, it was unanimous.

Walter Isaacson to Speak at Next Bipartisan Senate Lunch

April 14, 2015

It is time again for the Senate to get together for a bipartisan lunch.

Democrats Rebut McConnell's Message to States on EPA

April 14, 2015

A group of Democratic caucus members in the Senate has asked governors to consider the views of other Kentuckians before taking Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s advice on implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Rubio, Menendez Quickly Out of the Gate Against Cuba Policy Changes (Video)

April 14, 2015

Not long after the White House announced the president’s intent to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Sen. Marco Rubio was out with video responses in English and Spanish decrying the much-anticipated move.

What's 'Life After Congress' for a Temporary Senator?

April 14, 2015

BOSTON — Sporting a Red Sox cap and a fleece jacket emblazoned with the logo of his law firm, you wouldn’t know that the man in the corner booth of a diner was a historic figure, one of just nine African-Americans to have ever served in the United States Senate.

Johnson Reviewing Options After Obamacare Lawsuit

April 14, 2015

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson isn’t ruling out further challenges to the Obama administration’s treatment of members of Congress and their staff members under the Affordable Care Act.

Senate's To-Do List Keeps Getting Longer (Video)

April 14, 2015

A debate over Iran may highlight the Senate’s agenda, but it already seems like there might be too much to do.

Iran, Medicare, Trafficking Top Senate's Spring Agenda

April 14, 2015

In his opening remarks Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added to a growing Senate to-do list, praising bipartisan efforts on education policy, cybersecurity and trade promotion authority while saying bipartisan House-passed legislation replacing Medicare’s sustainable growth rate deserved a Senate vote, despite opposition from some conservatives.

McConnell reaffirmed the Senate's need to address human-trafficking legislation before moving to a vote to confirm Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, and McConnell also said Sen. Bob Corker’s bill giving Congress a role in reviewing any Iran nuclear agreement is a high priority.

“The legislation is supported by a large number of Democrats. It’s no wonder why,” McConnell said of the Corker-sponsored Iran bill. “The bill is aimed at giving Congress and the American people a say in reviewing and approving an international agreement with such wide-ranging consequences."

Bipartisanship on Display on No Child Left Behind Replacement Effort

April 13, 2015

Congress has no shortage of trouble moving big-ticket legislation, so it might be preposterous to think the Senate can move forward on replacing the education law known most recently as No Child Left Behind.

Senate Returns to an Immediate 'Doc Fix' Deadline

April 13, 2015

Lawmakers will already be facing a time crunch when the Senate returns Monday.

Obama Torches McCain Over Criticism of Kerry on Iran

April 11, 2015

President Barack Obama lit into Sen. John McCain Saturday over the Arizona Republican’s recent comments about the framework agreement with Iran about its nuclear program.

After Budget Votes, Democrats Push Paid Sick Leave, Middle Class Tax Credits, Federal Benefits for Gay Couples (Updated)

April 10, 2015

Updated 1:28 p.m. | Senate Democrats want Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to embrace lessons of the budget vote-a-rama that took place just before recess.

At Appomattox, Tim Kaine Calls for Unity

April 9, 2015

“So will we look for new opportunities to lay down arms — physical, verbal, spiritual — and unify one with another?” Sen. Tim Kaine asked Thursday, standing on the hallowed ground at the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.

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.

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