Lieu was appointed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as the Assistant Whip of the 115th Congress.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Lieu immigrated with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up and graduated from Saint Ignatius High School in 1987. He graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a B.S. in computer science and an A.B. in political science. He graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994, where he was editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal and received four American Jurisprudence awards.
He also served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas Tang of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Lieu holds the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves. He served four years on active duty as a member of the JAG Corps. As a military prosecutor and adviser to commanders, he has received various awards and medals for his service, both abroad and locally, including the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Humanitarian Service Medal.
Lieu previously served as Torrance City Councilman.
Lieu won a September 13, 2005, special election to fill the 53rd Assembly district following the death of incumbent Mike Gordon. Lieu defeated three Republicans, including businesswoman Mary Jo Ford and fellow Torrance City Councilman Paul Nowatka.
He was reelected in November 2006 and again in November 2008.
Lieu was Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee. He was a member of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, Assembly Judiciary Committee and Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. Lieu was also Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace.
In 2008, in a surprising twist of events in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) English language controversy, Lieu and State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco were able to help rescind the LPGA Tour Commission’s suspension-penalty policy for players who failed to learn enough English to speak to sponsors and at award ceremonies. Both officials publicly challenged the legality and galvanized community attention to the LPGA’s policy in August 2008 when it was released, which resulted in revision of the policy by the end of 2008.
Lieu is a strong supporter of expansion of public transit in West Los Angeles, LAX, and the South Bay.
Lieu also coauthored a successful bill to bypass environmental quality regulations to build a football stadium in Los Angeles. The bill was intended to help the efforts of developer Edward P. Roski persuade the National Football League to return to the city, and was controversial among many environmentalists and legislators. Further controversy ensued when it was announced that Roski had given over $500,000 to political campaigns, including $13,000 to Lieu's.
As an assemblyman, Lieu authored laws in the areas of public safety, child sex offenders, domestic violence, the environment, education, health care, veterans’ issues and transportation.
Some of his legislative actions include the following:AB 1900 helps prevent convicted child sex offenders from working with children (Chapter 340, Statutes of 2006)
ABx2 7, the California Foreclosure Prevention Act, requires lenders to operate a comprehensive home loan modification program or face a 90-day foreclosure moratorium. This is the first law of its kind in the nation (Chapter 5, Statutes of 2009)
AB 2052 allows a victim of domestic violence to break a rental lease if the victim provides a police report or temporary restraining order to the landlord (Chapter 440, Statutes of 2008)
AB 86 gives school districts the ability to discipline students who engage in cyber-bullying (Chapter 646, Statutes of 2008)
AB 800 requires reporting of sewage spills, thereby allowing the local public safety officials to close down beaches and public areas affected by such spills (Chapter 371, Statutes of 2007)
AB 236 mandates the state to prioritize the purchase of fleet cars to enhance fuel efficiency and carbon reduction, and requires alternative-fuel-capable vehicles to use alternative fuels (Chapter 593, Statutes of 2007)
AB 392 requires employers to give spouses of Armed Forces members returning from deployment two weeks of unpaid leave if requested by the spouse (Chapter 361, Statutes of 2007) and
AB 1150 bans health insurance companies from providing financial incentives to their employees for terminating health care coverage of patients (Chapter 188, Statutes of 2008).
Lieu sought the Democratic nomination in the California Attorney General election, 2010. He finished fourth in the June primary, which was won by Kamala Harris.
Lieu won a February 15, 2011, special election to fill the 28th Senate district following the death of incumbent Jenny Oropeza. He defeated four Republicans, one Democrat, and two independents.
On January 30, 2014, Senator Lieu voted in favor of California Senate Constitutional Amendment 5. The proposed bill asked California voters to repeal provisions of Proposition 209 and permit state universities to consider an applicant's race, ethnicity or national origin in making admissions decisions. After hearing strong opposition to the bill from Asian-American community, Lieu, along with Senators Leland Yee and Carol Liu, who had also voted for the bill, jointly issued a statement on February 27 calling for the bill to be withheld pending further consultations with the "affected communities."
Lieu's legislative actions as a state senator include:SB 698 – Workforce Development Funds (Chapter 497, Statutes of 2011)
SB 746 – Tanning and Cancer Prevention (Chapter 664, Statutes of 2011)
SB 757 – Insurance Equality for Domestic Partners (Chapter 722, Statutes of 2011)
SB 857 – Protecting the Right to Strike (Chapter 539, Statutes of 2011)
SB 917 – Curbing Animal Abuse and Neglect (Chapter 131, Statutes of 2011)
SB 661 – Funeral Protests (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2012)
SB 921 – National Guard Inspector General (Chapter 731, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1055 – Rental Payment Flexibility (Chapter 268, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1058 – Victims of Corporate Fraud (Chapter 564, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1066 – Climate Change (Chapter 611, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1172 – Sexual Orientation Change Therapies (Chapter 835, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1210 – Victim’s Restitution (Chapter 762, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1221 – Hounding of Bears and Bobcats (Chapter 595, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1272 - Campaign finance: advisory election (Chapter 175, Statutes of 2014)
SB 1402 – Workforce Development (Chapter 361, Statutes of 2012)
SB 1500 – Animal Cruelty (Chapter 598, Statutes of 2012)
Lieu was the Democratic candidate for the 33rd congressional district, formerly represented by Henry Waxman, who retired in 2014 after 40 years in Congress. Lieu placed second in the June primary, but defeated Republican Elan Carr in the general election. He is only the third person to represent this district since its creation in 1943 (it was the 19th from 1943 to 1975, the 24th from 1975 to 1993, the 29th from 1993 to 2003, the 30th from 2003 to 2013, and has been the 33rd since 2013).
Lieu successfully passed three laws in the 114th Congress, securing $35 million in funding to the West Los Angeles VA for seismic retrofits; reauthorizing the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans; and restoring the Quarterly Financial Report. Lieu also introduced the Climate Solutions Act in the 114th Congress, which aimed to model national energy goals and climate emissions reduction targets after the state of California.
In the 115th Congress, Lieu introduced H.R. 669 - Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, which would prohibit the President from using the Armed Forces to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a congressional declaration of war expressly authorizing such strike.
On March 8, 2017, Lieu introduced H.R. 1437 - No Money Bail Act of 2017. The bill proposes eliminating the money bail system for holding suspects in pretrial proceedings.
Lieu is one of two Taiwanese American members of the 114th United States Congress, along with New York's Grace Meng.
He was voted Democratic Freshman Class President of the House by his colleagues, succeeding Joaquín Castro. Lieu serves on two influential committees in Congress: the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Lieu voted against the Iran deal.
online privacy community when he introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent states from forcing companies to weaken encryption for law enforcement purposes.
On September 16, 2015, Lieu and Justin Amash introduced a bill to reduce funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration's Cannabis Eradication Program, under which real estate and chattels can be seized if they have been used for marijuana trafficking and abuse.
On July 22, it was announced that Lieu would speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, along with three other California House Democrats.
On May 10, 2017, Lieu tweeted: “Our 11 year old just asked me if President Trump was part Russian. That would be really funny if it wasn’t so really scary.” In response, Russia's government-controlled news agency Sputnik accused Lieu of inciting "Russophobic hysteria".United States House Committee on the Judiciary
United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, and the Internet
United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa
In 2012 Lieu authored a bill that bans the provision of sexual orientation change efforts (including conversion therapy) to minors. This bill passed both the State Assembly and Senate with substantial support, and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. This made California the first U.S. state to have such a ban. Several other states and the District of Columbia have followed in enacting bans on sexual orientation change efforts with minors. As U.S. Representative, Lieu has introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, a bill for a federal ban on conversion therapy, following statements by President Obama opposing the practice.
Proponents of the ban cited sources including several reports of the American Psychological Association that conversion therapy presented a serious health risk "including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources."
Lieu has been publicly raising concerns over U.S. support for Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. In March 2016, he sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Lieu wrote in the letter that the "apparent indiscriminate airstrikes on civilian targets in Yemen seem to suggest that either the coalition is grossly negligent in its targeting or is intentionally targeting innocent civilians. ... Some of these strikes look like war crimes to me, and I want to get answers as to why the U.S. appears to be assisting in the execution of war crimes in Yemen."
In April 2017, he again criticized U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabian military campaign in Yemen, highlighting that Al Qaeda in Yemen “has emerged as a de facto ally of the Saudi-led militaries with whom [Trump] administration aims to partner more closely.”
Lieu and his wife Betty (a former California Deputy Attorney General) reside in Torrance, California, with their two sons, Brennan and Austin.