July 1, 2015

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:

Democrats Want Domestic Terrorism Probe After Charleston Shootings

June 30, 2015

The Charleston, S.C., shootings have prompted six Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to push for hearings on domestic terrorism.

In Washington, Ted Cruz's 'Truth' Will Make Him More Enemies

June 29, 2015

When their presidential bids failed, senators as liberal as Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and as conservative as Barry Goldwater of Arizona returned to Capitol Hill and had productive — if not legendary — careers.

Cruz Says McConnell Misled on Funding Incumbents

June 29, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz is suggesting current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell misled him about the objectives of the National Republican Senatorial Committee last cycle.

Mike Lee's Missed 'Fast-Track' Vote Causes Discord, Confusion

June 26, 2015

Sen. Mike Lee had said he supported a stand-alone measure to revive Trade Promotion Authority, but when the vote was called, the Republican was still in Utah.

Gay Marriage Supporters Turn Focus to ENDA

June 26, 2015

Having achieved marriage equality in Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision, supporters of gay rights are making clear there’s still much work to do, including on employment discrimination.

SCOTUS Scene Contrasts With Quiet Capitol

June 26, 2015

Except for some reporters and cameras on the East Front, the Capitol grounds were fairly quiet Friday morning, standing in stark contrast to the electric crowds across the street.

Menendez: Suspend Iran Nuclear Talks if Iran Won't Budge

June 26, 2015

A Democratic senator who has led calls for stronger sanctions against Iran is joining Republicans skeptical of the country’s intentions when it comes to the ongoing talks over nuclear capabilities.

In Highway Debate, Durbin Channels His Inner Jamie Whitten

June 25, 2015

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin and other Democrats have praised the efforts of the Environment and Public Works Committee on a six-year highway bill, but are stressing that the Finance Committee needs to find the money for a full authorization measure.

Next Obamacare Battle? The 2016 Election (Video)

June 25, 2015

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold subsidies for people to purchase health insurance forestalls the need for Republicans in Congress to take action on the law, pushing the issue as a substantive matter into the 2016 election cycle.

House Scraps NDAA Conference Vote Amid 'Blue Slip' Hang Up

June 24, 2015

The House and Senate conference on their annual defense policy bill isn't happening. At least not today.

Senate Votes to Send Trade Promotion Authority to Obama

June 24, 2015

After no shortage of fits and starts, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s trade agenda — Trade Promotion Authority — is finally heading to his desk.

NRSC Chairman Evolves on Mississippi Flag (Updated)

June 24, 2015

Updated 11:20 a.m. | GOP Sen. Roger Wicker now says his home state of Mississippi should change its flag.

Lawmakers Seek Live Supreme Court Audio of Gay Marriage, Obamacare Decisions

June 24, 2015

Ahead of key Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and Obamacare, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is making a plea to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., to provide a live audio feed of the release of the opinions.

New Highway Bill Has Next Best Thing to Earmarks

June 23, 2015

It may be tougher to grease the wheels for highway spending without earmarks, but the leaders of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee have come up with the next best thing.

Kay Hagan Won't Challenge Richard Burr in 2016

June 23, 2015

Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan will not be mounting a challenge to her former GOP colleague, Sen. Richard M. Burr.

Senators Unveil 6-Year Transportation Bill

June 23, 2015

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have unveiled a new six-year surface transportation reauthorization costing more than a quarter-trillion dollars, but it’s still unclear how the Senate would pay for it.

Cruz: Kill Ex-Im Before Voting for Trade Promotion Authority

June 23, 2015

The effort to get “fast-track” trade authority for President Barack Obama has lost the support of one of the Republicans who could benefit from the powers if he became president in 2017.

Calls to Remove Confederate Battle Flag Resonate at Capitol

June 22, 2015

Monday’s avalanche of opposition to flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol rang throughout the nation’s Capitol as well.

NRSC Chairman Says Mississippi State Flag's Confederate Symbol Up to Voters

June 22, 2015

The head of the Senate GOP’s campaign committee says it is up to the people of his state to decide about possibly changing the Mississippi state flag, which includes a battle symbol of the Confederacy.

Schumer Eggs Republicans

June 22, 2015

The latest salvo in what’s looking to be a summer of sparring over spending? Eggs.

King Will Have Surgery for Prostate Cancer (Video)

June 22, 2015

Sen. Angus King will undergo surgery this week to address a prostate cancer diagnosis he received earlier this year.

McConnell Pledges 20-Week Abortion Ban Vote

June 19, 2015

Sandwiched between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knew he wouldn’t be the star.

Senate Dodges ISIS War Debate

June 18, 2015

Senators managed to duck a war debate Thursday while passing the National Defense Authorization Act and then immediately filibustering the Defense spending bill.

Rand Paul Wants Internal GOP Debate Over Taxes

June 18, 2015

In unveiling his proposal to slash taxes to a single 14.5 percent marginal rate, Sen. Rand Paul wants a debate over whether the GOP should only seek to simplify the tax code.

Boehner Poaches New Press Secretary From the Senate

June 18, 2015

A longtime Senate spokeswoman is going back across the Rotunda to serve as press secretary for Speaker John A. Boehner.

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