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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:

Cruz Wants Special Prosecutor to Investigate IRS

Jan. 22, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz wants a special prosecutor to investigate misconduct at the IRS.

McCain: Richard Sherman's a 'Loudmouth From Seattle'

Jan. 22, 2014

It wasn’t all serious business when Sen. John McCain showed up on a local Phoenix radio show Tuesday.

Lew Warns Congress Must Act on Debt Limit in February (Updated)

Jan. 22, 2014

Updated 4:47 p.m. | Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is renewing calls for Congress to act to raise the debt limit in February.

Tim Scott Plans Black History Event With Former African-American Senators

Jan. 22, 2014

Sen. Tim Scott announced Wednesday that he’s hosting an event honoring the country’s black senators, which will feature panel discussion with at least four members of the group.

McCain Says Obama Is Worse Than Carter

Jan. 21, 2014

“I thought Jimmy Carter was bad.”

McCain Wants to Create Senate Committee to Examine NSA

Jan. 17, 2014

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is planning legislation that would create a select committee to examine intelligence issues, including those raised in President Barack Obama’s speech Friday.

McCain: Putting Drone Language in Classified Omnibus Annex 'Outrageous'

Jan. 16, 2014

Sen. John McCain is incensed about a report that says the omnibus spending bill essentially blocks the transfer of CIA drone operations to the Pentagon.

Coburn Will Retire After 113th Congress (Updated)

Jan. 16, 2014

Updated 11:30 p.m. | Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn plans to leave the Senate early and will resign his seat at the end of the current Congress.

Omnibus Sails Through the Senate

Jan. 16, 2014

The allure of recess won out Thursday as senators sped up the timeline and cleared a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.

Durbin to Hollywood Actors Puffing E-Cigs: You're Killing Your Fans (Video)

Jan. 15, 2014

A day after spearheading a letter calling on the Golden Globe Awards to stop showing celebrities using electronic cigarettes, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin blasted “red hot actors and actresses” for “killing” their fans.

Last Hurrahs for 5 Retiring Senate Chairmen

Jan. 15, 2014

This year, several stalwart members of the Democratic caucus will write the final chapter in their Senate careers.

Senators Slam 'E-Cigs' at the Golden Globes

Jan. 14, 2014

Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and three of his Democratic colleagues are criticizing the Golden Globe Awards for showing celebrities using electronic cigarettes on TV.

Jobless Benefits Put on Ice in the Senate

Jan. 14, 2014

It’s back to the drawing board for extended jobless benefits.

Senate Panel May 'Pounce' on New Jersey Bridge Mess

Jan. 14, 2014

The Senate Commerce Committee is “ready to pounce” on the controversy surrounding September lane closures on the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge.

Pryor Wants to Require Public Service for Extended Jobless Benefits

Jan. 13, 2014

Sen. Mark Pryor is floating the idea of requiring community service or public service in exchange for receiving extended unemployment benefits.

Appropriators (Finally) Complete Their Work, Send Omnibus to House Floor

Jan. 13, 2014

Appropriators achieved Monday what seemed like an impossible task, crafting an omnibus spending bill that includes even the most contentious of the 12 subcommittee measures.

Recess Appointment Debate Unlikely to End at Supreme Court

Jan. 13, 2014

Even a Supreme Court opinion throwing out President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board wouldn’t end the debate.

GOP Expects Supreme Court Victory Over Obama on Recess Appointments

Jan. 13, 2014

Republican senators left the Supreme Court on Monday optimistic that the justices would rule that President Barack Obama ran afoul of the Constitution in making recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

GOP Turns to Courts to Take On Obama

Jan. 10, 2014

Republicans are bringing their objections to Obama administration policies to a courtroom near you.

Reid Open to Amendment Deal on Jobless Aid Bill

Jan. 10, 2014

There may be a glimmer of hope for extended jobless benefits legislation to emerge from the black hole that opened Thursday.

Democratic Trio Outlines Proposed NSA Changes

Jan. 10, 2014

Three Democratic senators who have blasted the intelligence collection activities of the National Security Agency have proposed several changes in a letter to President Barack Obama.

Jobless Bill Descends Into Procedural Black Hole (Updated)

Jan. 9, 2014

Updated 6:17 p.m. | The Senate’s debate over extending unemployment benefits devolved back into an all-too-familiar feud over considering amendments, with Majority Leader Harry Reid saying flatly that he wouldn’t allow GOP alternatives.

Jobless Benefits, Farm Bill Hit Snags

Jan. 8, 2014

The most obvious place to find the money to offset extended jobless benefits, a demand of the GOP, may be in the bill that provides food stamps, but that plan will first require a to-be-determined deal on the farm bill.

Mikulski Warns Appropriators May Need 'a Little Bit More Time' for Omnibus

Jan. 7, 2014

Subcommittee chairmen may be known as cardinals in appropriations parlance, but Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski called Tuesday’s meeting of the Democratic and Republican spending chiefs on both sides of the Rotunda a “conversation” rather than a “conclave.”

Menendez Plans to Move Baucus Nomination ASAP

Jan. 7, 2014

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez plans to take up the nomination of fellow Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be the next ambassador to China as quickly as possible — maybe even before the chamber’s next recess.

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