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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:

Enzi Encourages Prayers for Cheney Family After High-Fives on Senate Floor (Video)

Jan. 6, 2014

Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., sought to tamp down the upbeat reception he received on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, emphasizing the severity of the medical situation that prompted Liz Cheney to drop her primary challenge in the Wyoming Senate race earlier in the day.

Enzi Receives High-Fives on Senate Floor

Jan. 6, 2014

Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., received an upbeat reception on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, following news earlier in the day that Liz Cheney dropped her primary challenge in the Wyoming Senate race.

Ron Johnson's Obamacare Lawsuit Is Latest Risk to Staffer Health Care

Jan. 6, 2014

Sen. Ron Johnson’s lawsuit to stop the federal government from contributing to staff health care costs might make him public enemy No. 1 in the Senate’s hallways.

Sensenbrenner Blasts Ron Johnson's Lawsuit Against Staff Health Care Contributions

Jan. 6, 2014

A fellow Wisconsinite is criticizing Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s lawsuit against the Obama administration over employee contributions to staff health care.

Rand Paul Sues the NSA, Raises PAC Money (Updated)

Jan. 3, 2014

Updated 1:52 p.m. Jan. 6 | Sen. Rand Paul announced Friday night his intent to lead a class-action lawsuit seeking to stop some controversial National Security Agency programs. And he hopes to raise some money for the effort along the way.

Bengals Blackout Potential Draws Senator's Ire

Jan. 2, 2014

The possibility of the National Football League blacking out wildcard playoff games in home markets is drawing the ire of lawmakers.

Senate on Record-Setting 'Filibuster' Pace

Dec. 30, 2013

The Senate of the 113th Congress is on track to feature the most filibuster-breaking votes in history, and there’s no reason to think it won’t reach that milestone.

A Few Winners in a Dysfunctional Year

Dec. 24, 2013

It’s tough to call anyone a winner in a year that was among the least productive in Congressional history and saw a government shutdown in October, but one group stands out: the relative newcomers who have pushed to change the rules.

Harry Reid Leaves Hospital After Doctors Diagnose Him as 'Exhausted'

Dec. 20, 2013

Updated 7:15 p.m. | Majority Leader Harry Reid has been released from the hospital, where he was diagnosed as “exhausted,” his spokesman said late Friday.

Democrats Target College Costs With New Bill

Dec. 19, 2013

A trio of Senate Democrats launched a new push Thursday designed to help reduce the burden of student loan debt.

Senate Deal Sets Up Friday Christmas Exit, Pushes Yellen Confirmation to 2014 (Updated)

Dec. 19, 2013

Updated 10:25 p.m. | A bit of bipartisan Christmas cheer finally arrived in the Senate around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Reid Cautions Against Blocking Routine Nominees at Session's End

Dec. 19, 2013

Most of the focus of nominations in the Senate this week involves the 10 nominees that Majority Leader Harry Reid has lined up votes on before senators leave for Christmas, but there’s more to the story.

Leahy Threatens to Change Judiciary Panel Rules to Fight Republican Obstruction (Updated)

Dec. 18, 2013

Updated 4:21 p.m. | Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy signaled Wednesday that he’s open to changing the way his committee handles nominations after facing another procedural blockade from Republicans.

Baucus to Be Tapped as Ambassador to China, Hatch Quick to Endorse (Updated)

Dec. 18, 2013

Updated 6:31 p.m. | Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus will be tapped as the next ambassador to China, Democratic sources said Wednesday even as the retiring Montana Democrat played coy.

Harry Reid Isn't Going Anywhere Anytime Soon (Updated)

Dec. 18, 2013

If Republicans and potential Democratic rivals want Harry Reid’s majority leader title, they’re going to have to knock him out of the ring, because the former boxer has no intent to relinquish his position anytime soon.

Paul Vows to Slow Yellen Confirmation Over 'Audit the Fed' Vote

Dec. 17, 2013

If Senate Democrats want to speed up the process of reaching the Christmas break, they’ll have to allow a vote on an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Murray-Ryan Budget Deal Overcomes Key Senate Test

Dec. 17, 2013

The bipartisan budget agreement is officially on a glide path to enactment.

Wyden Hails Federal Judge's Ruling Against NSA Surveillance; Surprised Feinstein Eyes Appeal

Dec. 16, 2013

Two top Democrats had predictably different takes on a federal court ruling Monday that a National Security Agency phone record collection program likely runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment.

Appropriators Finally Get Their Chance

Dec. 16, 2013

Reading local newspaper editorials from coast to coast, you might get the sense that Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have averted a January government shutdown.

Yellen Leads Nominees Reid Wants Confirmed By Christmas

Dec. 16, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned that the Senate could be working right through Christmas Eve processing nominations, running through a list of nine more individuals he would like to see confirmed by year’s end.

Reid Ends Marathon Session, Announces Schedule for Budget, Defense Bills (Updated)

Dec. 13, 2013

Updated 3:33 p.m. | One all-nighter was not enough, but two will suffice.

Senate GOP Opposition to Budget Deal Grows

Dec. 12, 2013

Many Senate Republicans began to announce opposition Thursday to a bipartisan budget agreement — even as their House counterparts passed it — actions unlikely to imperil the deal but that will make vote counters sweat in the closing days of 2013.

Will One Senate All-Nighter Be Enough? (Updated)

Dec. 12, 2013

Updated 11:59 a.m. | The Senate GOP minority may have found its greatest weapon in responding to a “nuclear” rules change: the clock.

Feinstein, Alexander Propose Ban on In-Flight Cellphone Calls

Dec. 12, 2013

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., have drafted legislation to keep airplanes free of the sounds of chatty cellphone users.

Senate All-Nighter on Tap for Nominations (Video)

Dec. 11, 2013

It may be time once again for senators to pull out the cots.

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