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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:

Rubio to Pledge to Invite Dissidents to His Inauguration

Aug. 13, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio will announce that political dissidents would be guests of honor at the inauguration in January 2017 should he be elected president.

McCain: 'Shameful' to Limit Arlington Cemetery Expansion for Bus Facility

Aug. 13, 2015

John McCain is pushing hard to quash the idea of building a bus maintenance facility on property the Arizona Republican would rather see set aside for an expansion of the adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.

Thune Wants GOP Senators Touting Productivity

Aug. 13, 2015

Republican senators were sent home for August recess with a pocket card printed with a simple message.

Rubio: Kerry Giving 'Lip Service' to Human Rights in Cuba

Aug. 12, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday blasted Secretary of State John Kerry after reports Cuban dissidents will not be a part of Friday’s ceremonial re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana.

Graham: National Security Concerns Trump Planned Parenthood

Aug. 11, 2015

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A potential President Lindsey Graham would propose defunding Planned Parenthood, but the South Carolina Republican said using a government funding crisis as leverage in an abortion debate would undermine national security.

Ted Cruz to States: Impose Your Own Iran Sanctions

Aug. 9, 2015

PELHAM, Ala. — Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that doing everything possible to thwart the Iran deal should include states exploring imposing their own sanctions.

Rand Paul Makes His Pitch, Brushes Off Indictments

Aug. 8, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sen. Rand Paul’s target audience is unique among the presidential contenders. It skews younger and more libertarian.

Ted Cruz Won't Rule Out Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

Aug. 7, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mitch McConnell may be ruling out a government shutdown at the end of September, but Sen. Ted Cruz certainly is not.

At Debate Night at the Movies, Cheers for Candidates, and the Moderators

Aug. 7, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — It was a full house at a South Carolina movie house Thursday night for a special show: the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle.

Candidates Need Answers to New Hampshire's Heroin Crisis

Aug. 6, 2015

It’s hard to get through a political event in New Hampshire these days without someone mentioning heroin.

Senate Heads for Recess After Reaching Deal on Iran, Cyber Debates (Video)

Aug. 5, 2015

The Senate’s figured out how to go ahead with debates on both the Iran deal and cybersecurity legislation — debates that will not happen in earnest until after the August recess.

Rand Paul Allies Indicted in Iowa Campaign Fraud Case (Updated)

Aug. 5, 2015

Updated 1:25 p.m. | A longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul who at one point served as the 2014 campaign manager for now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been indicted for alleged campaign finance fraud.

McConnell Says No Shutdowns as September Agenda Takes Shape (Video)

Aug. 4, 2015

Senate Democrats are warning a new shutdown showdown looms in September, even as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated there wouldn’t be any government shutdowns on his watch.

Cruz Ready for Next Debt Limit Debate

Aug. 4, 2015

Remember what happened the last time Congress acted to raise the debt limit?

Cruz, Rubio and Paul Make New Hampshire Forum — Sort Of

Aug. 3, 2015

For three of the 14 presidential candidates participating in Monday’s Voters First Forum, the timing was less than ideal.

What's McConnell's Next Move on the EPA's Clean Power Plan? (Updated)

Aug. 3, 2015

Updated 2:55 p.m. | The Obama administration’s final Clean Power Plan unveiled Monday sets aggressive goals for reducing carbon pollution — but the first challenge on the road to implementation will be working around Republican opposition on Capitol Hill.

64 Lawmakers Rally Behind Alexander Hamilton

July 31, 2015

As the House headed for August recess, a group of 64 lawmakers is uniting against reducing the role of Alexander Hamilton on the 10-dollar bill.

Ted Cruz Defers to House Members on Bid to Boot Boehner

July 31, 2015

Upending the “Washington cartel” of career politicians may be the theme of Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for the White House, but the Texas Republican is not weighing in on a bid to oust John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, from his role as speaker.

Menendez Offers Legislative Response to Killing of Cecil the Lion

July 31, 2015

Sen. Robert Menendez is spearheading a new effort to curtail trophy killings after national attention was drawn to the killing of Cecil the lion.

Senate Passes Long-Term Highway Bill, Short-Term Extension

July 30, 2015

Updated 2:14 p.m. | The Senate passed its long-term highway bill (HR 22) shortly after noon Thursday, and then agreed to a House-passed three-month extension (HR 3236) before completing work for the day.

Chamber Plans August Outreach as Export-Import Bank Stays Expired

July 29, 2015

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a key White House ally on reviving the Export-Import Bank — plans a blitz to rebuild momentum with state and local chambers as members head home for the August recess.

Highway Bill Might Be Senate's Last Accomplishment Before August

July 29, 2015

The Senate’s on the road to shipping the House a six-year highway bill before leaving for August recess, despite the fact House members won’t be around to debate it.

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