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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:

McConnell Pushes Campaign Finance Changes

Dec. 8, 2014

An effort to ease limits on spending by party committees was among the late lingering issues as negotiations continued on legislation to keep the government funded past Thursday.

McConnell to Nominate Julie Adams as Secretary of the Senate

Dec. 8, 2014

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that longtime aide Julie Adams would become secretary of the Senate when he becomes majority leader next year.

Immigration Not High on McConnell Agenda

Dec. 8, 2014

The incoming Senate majority leader isnt eager to tackle immigration after President Barack Obamas recent executive action.

McConnell Plots a Functional, Bipartisan Senate

Dec. 8, 2014

Sen. Mitch McConnell wants to hit the ground running in January and he thinks Democrats are ready to join him in crafting a more open, functional Senate.

McConnell: New GOP Senators Not in 'Make a Point' Wing of Party

Dec. 6, 2014

In an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call on Dec. 5, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had high praise for the incoming class of majority-makers.

"I always think there is sort of two kinds of people in politics: those that want to make a point and those that want to make a difference," McConnell said. "And I think we've just added 12 new members to the 'make a difference' caucus. And I think we, you know, have some occasional differences over tactics, but I think we are gonna have a broad support within our conference for right-of-center progress."

McConnell Manages Expectations on Obamacare Repeal

Dec. 6, 2014

In an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call on Dec. 5, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said while Republicans would work to roll back President Barack Obamas health care law, opponents of the law should be realistic about a full repeal.

"Number one: We certainly will have a vote on proceeding to a bill to repeal Obamacare. It is a statement to the obvious, however, that Obama of Obamacare is the president of the United States," he said of the job with the veto power.

McConnell Plans to Keep Committee Seats in New Congress

Dec. 6, 2014

In an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call on Dec. 5, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intended to keep his seat on the Appropriations Committee in the 114th Congress.

I have not been active in committee work since I became leader. But I think it is to the advantage of my state to have the opportunity to come to meetings occasionally and to vote in person, rather than just by proxy, McConnell said.

Kerry Warns Feinstein of CIA Torture Report's Possible Impact on Hostages

Dec. 5, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein Friday about the possible impact of her committees imminent CIA torture report on American hostages and the war on ISIS.

Deal Reached, CIA Torture Report to Be Released Next Week

Dec. 4, 2014

A long-awaited summary of a Senate investigation into torture is coming next week.

Paul Gambit Poised to Force Vote on ISIS (Video)

Dec. 4, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul scored a victory Thursday in forcing an end-of-session debate on authorizing force against Islamic State militants.

Senate Democrats Talk Life in Minority, Plot Comeback

Dec. 4, 2014

Senate Democrats held a meeting Wednesday that they hoped would end intraparty finger-pointing after tough election losses, and discussed their new minority role in next Congress.

Amid CIA Torture Dispute, McDonough Meets Again With Feinstein

Dec. 3, 2014

The 114th: CQ Roll Calls Guide to the New Congress

In Final Act, Coburn Objects to Bundling Lands, Defense Bills

Dec. 3, 2014

You could call it Sen. Tom Coburns last stand.

Taxes, Defense, Appropriations Remain Big 3 Issues Before Christmas (Video)

Dec. 2, 2014

In the mad rush to complete work before Christmas, there are three big-ticket items on which Democrats and Republicans seem to agree.

McConnell: Taxes, Defense, Appropriations Remain Big 3 Issues Before Christmas

Dec. 2, 2014

In the mad rush to complete work before Christmas, there are three big-ticket items on which Democrats and Republicans seem to agree.

"Obviously the Senate is waiting on the House with respect to the tax extender package, the way forward on funding the government and the National Defense Authorization Act," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. "Once those measures are received, we'll decide how to go forward."

"I think everybody agrees, on a bipartisan basis, those are three things we simply must do here at the end of the session," the Kentucky Republican continued. "Fund the government, make sure we don't have any retroactive tax increases, and follow the tradition of many years, which is to pass a National Defense Authorization Act. I'm confident the Senate will do that before we depart for the holidays."

Sticking Around Could Make Portman Senate's GOP MVP

Dec. 2, 2014

Free from the albatross of a presidential campaign, Sen. Rob Portman is set to play a starring role in helping set the Senate Republican agenda on taxes, spending, trade and more next year.

Sources: Senate, House Republicans Set Joint Retreat in Pennsylvania

Dec. 2, 2014

House and Senate Republicans expect to hold a joint retreat early in the next Congress in Hershey, Pennsylvania, sources in both chambers said Tuesday.

Thune Puts Leagues on Notice Ahead of Likely Commerce Chairmanship

Dec. 2, 2014

Professional sports leagues shouldnt expect any less Senate oversight when Republicans take control next year.

Reid Open to Reported House Spending Proposal

Dec. 2, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struck an optimistic tone Tuesday discussing a reported House spending proposal to bundle 11 of the 12 regular spending bills for fiscal 2015 together with a shorter-term continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

At his weekly news conference, the Nevada Democrat said while such a bill would be a "big accomplishment," it would be "unfortunate" to not include funding for the DHS.

"I'm doing everything I can to help the Republican leaders accomplish what I believe they say publicly and privately what they want, and I hope they'll say yes for an answer," Reid said, while warning against listening to "extremists" on the GOP side.

He did note that Democrats need to see what policy riders appear before giving the spending package his blessing.

Liberal Groups Want Longer Lame Duck to Confirm Nominees

Dec. 1, 2014

A coalition of largely liberal organizations has written a letter asking the Senate to extend the lame duck to allow as many of President Barack Obamas nominees to win confirmation before Republicans take control of the chamber.

Reid Threatens to Keep Senate Scheduled Until Christmas (Video)

Dec. 1, 2014

As the Senate returned from the Thanksgiving break, Majority Leader Harry Reid was already encouraging colleagues to act quickly to complete work for the year.

Reid Says December Work Period May Approach Christmas

Dec. 1, 2014

As the Senate returned from the Thanksgiving break, Majority Leader Harry Reid was already encouraging colleagues to work quickly to complete work for the year.

While both the House and the Senate would like to complete activity for the lame-duck session by the end of next week, the Nevada Democrat who will cede the majority leader's post when the Congress ends was already warning that work could approach Christmas.

"We need to work on reauthorizing defense authorization legislation. We have a lot to do, and there isn't much time to accomplish it. So, I encourage all senators to work hard to complete our work in a timely and efficient fashion. We may have to be here the week before Christmas, and hopefully ... not into the Christmas holiday," Reid said. "But, there are things we have to get done."

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 fathers 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.

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