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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:

Reid, Heller Push Proper Hygiene at Capitol Event

Sept. 17, 2014

Nevada’s senators appeared together Wednesday afternoon to promote hand-washing and proper hygiene.

Tom Coburn Won't Be Going Away Quietly

Sept. 17, 2014

Sen. Tom Coburn is retiring at the end of this Congress, but the Oklahoma Republican has put the word out that he isn’t likely to let the Senate have its end-of-session legislative feeding frenzy.

Chuck Grassley's Birthday Blizzard

Sept. 17, 2014

Sen. Charles E. Grassley plans to put a birthday present to good use to grab himself a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but he hasn’t quite decided on the flavor yet.

Constitution Day: A Byrd Legacy (Video)

Sept. 16, 2014

A decade ago, during an earlier debate about military intervention in the Middle East, Sen. Robert C. Byrd led the establishment of Constitution Day, celebrated annually on Sept. 17.

Mitch McConnell Rapid Response Ad Features Obama

Sept. 16, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign has taken rapid response to the airwaves.

At Final Stakeout Before Election, Senate Leaders Bullish on Chances (Video)

Sept. 16, 2014

At what’s expected to be their final appearances before the cameras in the Ohio clock corridor before the midterm elections in November, the two political strategists leading the Senate offered predictably upbeat assessments for their respective parties’ chances.

Reid Sets Lame-Duck Schedule

Sept. 16, 2014

The Senate has set the date for returning for the lame-duck session. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is advising senators they will return for the post-election lame-duck session the day following Veterans Day.

Mark Warner Still Pushing Grand Bargains on the Stump

Sept. 16, 2014

FAIRFAX, Va. — How often do you hear a Democrat on the campaign stump tell a largely partisan audience that some of the attendees might be well-advised to vote for a Republican?

Debo Adegbile Nomination Withdrawn, Returns to Private Practice (Updated)

Sept. 15, 2014

Updated 12:14 p.m. | Having seen his Senate confirmation blocked by members of President Barack Obama’s own party, Debo P. Adegbile has withdrawn from consideration to be an assistant attorney general.

Alison Lundergan Grimes Shoots Skeet in New Ad (Video) (Updated)

Sept. 15, 2014

Updated 12:57 p.m. | The latest television spot from Alison Lundergan Grimes shows her skeet shooting on a farm as part of the Senate nominee’s attempt to create distance with an unpopular president in the midterms.

Menendez Unexpectedly Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Akaka

Sept. 12, 2014

Former Sen. Daniel K. Akaka got an unexpected birthday song on Thursday.

Overheard: Martin Dempsey's Eventful Week

Sept. 11, 2014

“Every day is eventful. . . . Today Iraq, tomorrow Ebola.”

Senate Democrats Seek More Information on Obama's ISIS Plan (Updated)

Sept. 11, 2014

Updated 6:40 p.m. | The Senate’s top Pentagon appropriator told reporters Thursday he will be probing the Obama administration about legal authorities for the fight against Islamic State extremists, including in Syria.

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt 'Zero-Tolerance' Policy

Sept. 11, 2014

A group of 16 female senators, including Maryland Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski, have written a scathing letter to Roger Goodell about the National Football League’s handling of violence against women.

Senators Push Against Burger King Tax Inversion

Sept. 11, 2014

A handful of members of the Senate Democratic caucus are calling on the leadership of Burger King to abandon the idea of using inversion for tax purposes as part of the merger with a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain.

Cruz to House GOP: Punt Spending Debate Into 2015

Sept. 10, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz is launching an effort to push the House into a continuing resolution that funds the government into the next Congress.

On Equal Pay Bill, Republicans Face Certain Criticism

Sept. 10, 2014

Republicans should prepare to be criticized regardless of how they vote Wednesday afternoon when the Senate reconsiders legislation known as the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Reid Wants Border Supplemental, Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization in Stopgap Bill

Sept. 9, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he would “certainly hope” the stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating into December would include funding requested by the administration for border security and the issue of unaccompanied migrant children, in addition to a re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank.

"I think the Ex-Im Bank is extremely important," Reid said. "China for example gives more than four times as much as we do in the same type of a program.”

Reid Doubts Senate Will Vote on Inversions in September

Sept. 9, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he doesn’t expect the Senate to vote on legislation revamping corporate inversions this month.

Lameness of Post-Election Session Could Hinge on Results

Sept. 9, 2014

There’s no “fiscal cliff” or global financial crisis for this year’s post-election lame-duck session, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Reid Warns of Government Shutdown Over Immigration

Sept. 9, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that if a band of Republicans press for language blocking executive actions on immigration, they're inviting a government shutdown.

"They have every right to do whatever they want legislatively. If they want to be the lead team of shutting down the government, that's what they're going to have to do," Reid said.

Reid Warns of Shutdown Showdown Over Immigration (Video)

Sept. 9, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that if a band of Republicans press for language blocking executive actions on immigration, they’re inviting a government shutdown.

GOP Chicken Charges Dropped in New Hampshire

Sept. 8, 2014

New Hampshire’s most famous Republican chicken is free.

Blumenthal Pushes Goodell to Revisit Ray Rice Punishment

Sept. 8, 2014

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is joining the calls for the National Football League to impose stiffer punishment on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

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