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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:

A Battered Reid Stays on Message (Video)

Jan. 6, 2015

After missing the opening of the Senate, a battered Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in an online video message that Democrats would continue to fight for the middle class.

Senators Cheer 'President Hatch'

Jan. 6, 2015

The start of the 114th Congress brings a pair of new roles for the senior-most Senate Republican: president pro tem and chairman of the Finance Committee.

Durbin to Fill In for Injured Reid as Senate Convenes (Updated)

Jan. 6, 2015

Updated 11:33 a.m. | Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is working from his D.C. residence after sustaining a concussion and other injuries in a workout accident last week.

Keystone Debate to Test Waters of New Senate

Jan. 6, 2015

Sen. Mitch McConnell has waited years for the moment he’ll take the reins of a dysfunctional chamber and try and show Republicans can govern.

First African-American Elected to Senate by Popular Vote Dies (Updated)

Jan. 3, 2015

Updated 7:13 p.m. | Trailblazing former Sen. Edward W. Brooke has died, the Boston Globe reported Saturday. He was 95. Funeral Services are scheduled for Saturday at the National Cathedral.

Reid Suffers Broken Ribs in Workout Accident (Updated)

Jan. 2, 2015

Updated 3:10 p.m. | Sen. Harry Reid’s office says the incoming minority leader has been released from a Las Vegas hospital after he sustained injuries in a workout accident at his home in Nevada on New Year’s Day.

Georgia Senators: Obama Won't Renominate Michael Boggs

Dec. 30, 2014

The controversial nomination of Michael P. Boggs to be a federal judge in Georgia is officially kaput.

What Scalise and Vitter Told Roll Call About David Duke in 1999

Dec. 29, 2014

Back in 1999, Roll Call interviewed white supremacist leader David Duke about the possibility he would seek the House seat vacated by the resignation of Republican Rep. Bob Livingston. As part of that report, reporter John Mercurio also talked to up-and-coming Louisiana politicians, current Sen. David Vitter and current House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

A Look Back at 2014 in the WGDB

Dec. 29, 2014

As we close the books on the 113th Congress, and the first full calendar year for this blog, it’s our turn to again thank you, the readers, for joining us throughout the year as we’ve followed the ebbs and flows of the Senate.

Graham Says Iran Sanctions Vote Will Come in January (Video)

Dec. 27, 2014

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Saturday that a vote on legislation providing for more stringent conditional sanctions against Iran would be among the first items of business for the 114th Congress.

Senator Calls on White House to Host Showing of Pulled Sony Film

Dec. 22, 2014

One senator wants President Barack Obama to invite members of Congress to the White House for a screening of “The Interview.”

Obama to Give Jan. 20 State of the Union (Updated)

Dec. 19, 2014

Updated 10:41 a.m. | President Barack Obama is accepting an invitation to deliver the 2015 State of the Union on Jan. 20, according to a White House official.

Martin Paone New Senate Liaison

Dec. 19, 2014

The White House’s new Senate liaison is an old familiar face around the chamber, and someone who really knows how the trains run.

How the Nuclear Option Changed the Judiciary

Dec. 19, 2014

For Sen. Harry Reid, going “nuclear” set the groundwork for his last great act of the 113th Congress.

Rand Paul on Cuba: Open Trade a Better Way to Fight Communism

Dec. 18, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul says President Barack Obama should expect to face thousands of riders on next year’s spending bills.

Sessions Yields to Enzi for Budget Gavel (Updated)

Dec. 17, 2014

Updated 7:23 p.m. | Sen. Michael B. Enzi will be the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee in the next Congress.

Lindsey Graham Balks at Funding U.S. Embassy in Cuba (Updated)

Dec. 17, 2014

Updated 3:10 p.m. | The debate over President Barack Obama’s announced changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba will face a tough test at the Senate Appropriations Committee next year.

Democrats Close Out Majority With Wins on Nominations

Dec. 17, 2014

“This will be the last vote of this Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced shortly before 9:30 p.m.

Durbin and Schumer Split Up

Dec. 16, 2014

The Senate’s longstanding D.C. roommates have gone their separate ways.

Keystone XL and Energy Efficiency, Together Again?

Dec. 16, 2014

The first energy bill of the new year could feature a bit of a role reversal.

McConnell Puts Keystone First on the Agenda (Video)

Dec. 16, 2014

The incoming Senate majority leader is putting approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project first on his 2015 agenda.

McConnell Puts Keystone First on 2015 Agenda

Dec. 16, 2014

The incoming Senate majority leader is putting approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project first on his 2015 agenda, telling reporters Tuesday a bill sponsored by Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota would lead off the floor schedule.

"We'll be starting next year with a job-creating bill that enjoys significant bipartisan support," McConnell said of the pipeline legislation. "It will be open for amendment. We'll hope that senators on both sides will offer energy-related amendments, but there will be no effort to try to ... micromanage the amendment process."

New Governing Coalition Emerges

Dec. 15, 2014

In the wake of the “cromnibus,” a new governing coalition may have emerged in Washington.

From New Committee Seat, David Vitter Seeks to Stop AG Nomination

Dec. 15, 2014

One of the new Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee says next year’s Senate should block President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee.

Ahead of Holidays, Schumer Slams High Cost of Flying (Video)

Dec. 15, 2014

How does a senator spend his only off-day during the end-of-session holiday rush? If you’re Charles E. Schumer, you go home to New York and hold a news conference about the high price of airline tickets.

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