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Niels Lesniewski

Bio:

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:

Mark Warner Named to Senate Democratic Leadership

Nov. 28, 2014

A senator who voted against keeping Harry Reid as the Democratic leader is getting a seat at the leadership table.

Tom Harkin Is Reflecting, but Trying Not to Stare

Nov. 28, 2014

At the end of an extended interview in his Senate office, Tom Harkin realized he had neglected to show off a prized possession — his father’s Works Progress Administration card.

Schumer: Health Care Distracted Democrats From the Middle Class

Nov. 25, 2014

Sen. Charles E. Schumer says Democrats need to have a realistic agenda for demonstrating the importance of government to middle class voters, citing a rather unlikely subject as detracting from that message: health care.

Ted Cruz Floats Joe Lieberman for Defense Secretary

Nov. 24, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz has an idea for a new Defense secretary that the incoming Senate Armed Services chairman would love.

Republicans Push for More Iran Sanctions as Talks are Extended

Nov. 24, 2014

Monday’s seven-month extension of talks about the Iranian nuclear program make it very likely the Senate will vote on strengthening sanctions against Iran in the first part of 2015.

Politically Connected Ambassador Nominees to Get Floor Votes

Nov. 21, 2014

When the Senate returns from Thanksgiving, the first pressing business will be confirming a pair of President Barack Obama’s nominees who might not stand a chance in a Republican-led Senate.

Parents of 'Dreamers' Need Act of Congress, White House Says

Nov. 21, 2014

President Barack Obama’s sweeping immigration action leaves millions still at risk of deportation, including one group activists had long hoped the president would protect: the parents of the “Dreamers” he granted relief to two years ago.

Durbin Says Omnibus in Progress, Warns Against Defense CR

Nov. 20, 2014

Appropriators appear to be making good progress on behind-the-scenes negotiations on a big omnibus bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

GOP Senator: Obama Immigration Action Worse Than King George

Nov. 20, 2014

The next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said President Barack Obama's expected executive actions would go beyond the dreams of even King George III.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday night about a series of administration actions that Republicans have found objectionable, ranging from the use of recess appointments to the transfer of five Taliban prisoners out of the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"It is no exaggeration to say that the freedom of the American people is at stake. That's what the framers believed," Grassley said, before quoting from James Madison in Federalist 51.

Grassley contended that what the White House is planning on immigration policy would go beyond the bounds of enforcement discretion and the powers of the executive branch, comparing it to a power that King George III of England would not have had in 1776, going back nearly a century before that.

Senate's 2015 Calendar Features Fuller Weeks, Fewer Breaks

Nov. 20, 2014

In addition to longer workweeks, it appears the Senate will be in session more frequently in 2015.

McCain, Corker Doubtful of White House's ISIS Strategy, Intent for AUMF

Nov. 20, 2014

Leaving Wednesday’s closed briefing on the fight against the Islamic State, the terror group also known as ISIS or ISIL, Sen. John McCain said he doubted the Obama administration really wanted to have a new Authorization for Use of Military Force at all.

Josh Holmes, the Mastermind of Team Mitch

Nov. 20, 2014

Much of the movie “Fargo” takes place in Minnesota, the home state of the aide in charge of the campaign that propelled Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell to the role of Senate majority leader in the next Congress.

Grassley Says Obama's Immigration Action Worse Than King George (Video)

Nov. 19, 2014

The next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said President Barack Obama’s expected executive actions would go beyond the dreams of even King George III.

Mike Enzi Challenging Jeff Sessions for Budget Gavel

Nov. 19, 2014

Senate Republicans have a battle for a gavel.

Negotiations Over CIA Torture Report Nearing End

Nov. 19, 2014

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein expects her panel’s long-delayed report on the CIA’s use of torture to be released before Republicans take over the chamber, signaling to reporters there’s one sticking point left.

Reid Will Not Move on Attorney General Nominee in 2014

Nov. 18, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping Republicans will play ball on confirming a number of President Barack Obama's nominations before they take over the majority in the next Congress, but that list won't include the next attorney general.

The Nevada Democrat said the White House wasn't pushing for confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the Brooklyn-based U.S. Attorney tapped by Obama to become the next attorney general, before Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., becomes the man in charge of the Senate floor schedule.

"My personal feeling is that the White House has, through intermediaries with me, have said don't be pushing that, we can do it after the first of the year," Reid said.

Loretta Lynch Nomination Will Wait as Reid Seeks Broader Deal (Video)

Nov. 18, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping Republicans will play ball on confirming a number of President Barack Obama’s nominations before they take over the majority in the next Congress, but that list won’t include the next attorney general.

Cruz: Obama is No 'Monarch,' Pushes Short-Term Government Funding (Video)

Nov. 18, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz doesn’t know if his effort to push off the debate on funding the government into next year will prove successful, but the Texas Republican is sure making an effort.

McConnell Praises Wife, Campaign Manager on Election Night

Nov. 18, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised his wife Elaine Chao and campaign manager Josh Holmes at his election night gathering in Louisville on Nov. 4, calling Chao "the most valuable player on our team" and thanking Holmes for pitching "a perfect game.”

Next Congress to Formally Convene on Jan. 6, 2015

Nov. 14, 2014

Mark your calendars: The 114th Congress is planning to convene just a few days late.

White House Praises McConnell on Myanmar

Nov. 13, 2014

The man elected by his conference to be the next Senate majority leader actually won praise from the White House earlier in the day in Myanmar for his longstanding support of pro-democracy interests in that country.

Reid to Obama: Wait on Immigration Move (Updated)

Nov. 13, 2014

Updated Nov. 12 4:21 p.m. |Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he would like President Barack Obama to wait for Congress to pass legislation funding the government before he takes executive action giving deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.

Reid Unveils Leadership Team, Says 'Not Get Even Time' With GOP

Nov. 13, 2014

Sen. Harry Reid survived a four-hour meeting with his Democratic flock with his job as their leader intact, albeit without unanimous support, as he debuted three new members of his leadership team and promised to work with Republicans to legislate.

His leadership team has three new members: Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a moderate who is the new head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is chairwoman of Steering and Outreach; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has a newly created post to reach out to the progressive wing of the party.

"We have to continue fighting for the middle class," Reid said. "The middle class is what is concerning every one of my senators. They're not getting a fair shot and we are going to do everything we can in the 114th Congress to make sure the middle class of this great country of ours has a fair shot.”

Harry Reid Unveils New Leadership Team, Strategy (Video)

Nov. 13, 2014

Updated Nov. 13 7:02 |Sen. Harry Reid survived a four-hour meeting with his Democratic flock with his job as their leader intact, albeit without unanimous support, as he debuted three new members of his leadership team and promised to work with Republicans to legislate.

Obama Veto Pen Could Soon Get a Workout

Nov. 13, 2014

President Barack Obama might want to find some veto pens. A lot of them. After setting a modern record for fewest vetoes — just two early on in his presidency — thanks to a Democratic Senate, Republicans could soon be sending him reams of legislative cannon fodder.

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