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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:

Boxer, Inhofe Want to Avoid Highway Bill Trick or Treat

July 29, 2015

Ask Sens. James M. Inhofe and Barbara Boxer about most issues, and they will disagree.

Republicans Reach Planned Parenthood Deal (Video) (Updated)

July 28, 2015

Updated 7:32 p.m. | A working group of Republican senators has reached a deal on the details of a bill to stop funding Planned Parenthood that will get a vote before the August recess.

Senate to Accept 3-Month Highway Bill, Stay Another Week (Video)

July 28, 2015

The Senate will accept a House bill to provide a three-month extension of highway programs, as well as preventing a veterans funding shortfall.

Rand Paul: GOP Will Discuss Best Way to Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

July 28, 2015

After a rally with supporters of his effort to defund Planned Parenthood, Sen. Rand Paul said it’s not yet certain whether his bill will get a vote.

Lindsey Graham Shows Off New iPhone

July 27, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham got an iPhone.

What Robert Byrd Thought of Calling Colleagues Liars

July 27, 2015

“The decorum in the Senate has deteriorated, and political partisanship has run rife, and when the American people see and hear such intellectual pemmican as was spewed forth on this floor last Friday, no wonder there is such a growing disrespect for Congress throughout the country.”

Rand Paul Planned Parenthood Bill May Get a Vote

July 27, 2015

Senate Republicans are looking to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood before leaving the Capitol for August recess.

Campaigning on the Floor Not Going Away Anytime Soon

July 27, 2015

If the Senate’s old guard has its way, the campaigning from the Senate floor would end. But don’t bet on it.

Despite Rebukes, Ted Cruz Doubles Down on Charge McConnell Lied (Updated)

July 26, 2015

Updated 5:05 p.m. | The Senate opened Sunday with a reading by the Senate President Pro Tem Orrin G. Hatch of the Senate’s rules of decorum, in an apparent rebuke of Sen. Ted Cruz calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on Friday. And things got more personal from there.

Senate Votes to Revive Export-Import Bank, Keep Obamacare (Updated)

July 26, 2015

Updated 4:57 p.m. | In a pair of losses for conservatives, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Sunday to revive the Export-Import Bank while failing to overcome a filibuster of an attempt to repeal Obamacare — with more fireworks to come.

Cruz Calling McConnell a Liar Likely to Linger

July 26, 2015

When Rush Limbaugh asked Sen. Ted Cruz what blowback he expected from accusing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of lying about reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, the Texas Republican said he was gearing up for more fights.

Cruz Accuses McConnell of Lying About Deal on Reviving the Export-Import Bank (Updated) (Video)

July 24, 2015

Updated 10:29 a.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused his own majority leader of effectively lying to fellow senators about his intentions Friday in a floor speech that could have serious repercussions.

Senate Taking Scenic Route on Highway Bill (Updated)

July 23, 2015

UPDATED 7:17 p.m. |Senate negotiators on a long-term highway bill worked out some issues in a new version unveiled Thursday afternoon, but lawmakers appeared on track for weekend work, including potential Sunday votes.

#tbt: Roll Call Praises John Kasich on Congressional Pay Stance

July 23, 2015

Back when this publication wrote editorials, newly declared presidential candidate and current Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich won plaudits for pushing back on the politics of congressional pay raises.

GOP Seeking Venues to Attack Planned Parenthood

July 23, 2015

Republicans want the debate over federal funding of Planned Parenthood to take place everywhere.

Senators Want DHS to Thwart Federal Data Breaches

July 22, 2015

Should the Department of Homeland Security be able to protect taxpayers’ information on the IRS website without asking for permission?

David Perdue Emerging as Key Player on Foreign Relations

July 22, 2015

David Perdue knew he wanted a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee before he became a senator, and joining the panel has positioned him well for having a voice in the debate over last week’s agreement with Iran about its nuclear program.

House GOP Leaders Frosty on Senate Highway Bill

July 22, 2015

As the Senate continues to work through a long-term highway bill, House Republicans and Democrats seem increasingly united on one thing: They’re not exactly enthusiastic about the legislation.

Democrats Delay McConnell Highway Bill Deal (Updated) (Video)

July 21, 2015

Updated 5:25 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s highway deal with Sen. Barbara Boxer hit a pothole Tuesday, as Democrats helped torpedo a vote to advance the 1,030-page bill about an hour after senators received it.

At White House Celebration of Disability Law, Obama Leaves Treaty Aside

July 20, 2015

When President Barack Obama hailed the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, he didn’t make mention of a treaty on disabilities that’s been stymied in the Senate.

Obama Names Nominee to Federal Reserve Board

July 20, 2015

President Barack Obama has chosen a University of Michigan economist with expertise in financial markets and monetary policy for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

Just How Long Is the Senate's Highway Roadmap?

July 20, 2015

The Senate might actually try to follow-up a long overdue education reauthorization with a real highway bill.

Cruz and Vitter to Target Congressional Health Care

July 20, 2015

Sen. David Vitter’s crusade against congressional health care benefits will continue this week, this time with help from a presidential hopeful.

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