Chris Lu

Fast Facts

  • Deputy secretary of labor in the Obama Administration
  • White House cabinet secretary and assistant to President Obama
  • Executive director, Obama-Biden Transition Project
  • Deputy chief counsel, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Jobs and Economy
  • Governance
  • Congress
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Over the course of a 20-year career in public service, Chris Lu, the Teresa A. Sullivan Practitioner Senior Fellow, worked in all three branches of the federal government, including seven years in the Obama Administration. From 2014 to 2017, Lu was the deputy secretary of labor, having been confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. In this role, he served as the chief operating officer of a department with 17,000 employees and a $12 billion budget.

From 2009 to 2013, Lu was the White House cabinet secretary and assistant to the president, serving as the president’s primary liaison to the federal agencies. At the end of the first term, Obama said: “Through his dedication and tireless efforts, Chris has overseen one of the most stable and effective cabinets in history – a cabinet that has produced extraordinary accomplishments over the past four years.” 

The son of immigrants, Lu was only the second Asian American in history to become a deputy secretary of any cabinet department. During the first term of the Obama Administration, he also co-chaired the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Prior to his service in the executive branch, Lu worked for then-Senator Obama, first as the legislative director, and then as the acting chief of staff. During the 2008 presidential primaries, Lu was tasked by Senator Obama to begin planning for a possible presidential transition. The day after Election Day 2008, Lu became the executive director of the Obama-Biden transition planning efforts.

His government experience includes eight years working for Rep. Henry Waxman as the deputy chief counsel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and serving as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Lu began his legal career as a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin.

Lu is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from MacMurray College and the Department of Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.

Lu draws on his extensive political experience as a regular television and radio commentator. He is a Democratic National Committee (DNC) "superdelegate" and sits on the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Lu co-chaired DNC Chairman Tom Perez's transition committee and was a member of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's transition committee. He is the co-editor of the book Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress (2014).

In addition to his role at the Miller Center, Lu is a senior strategy adviser at FiscalNote, a D.C.-based technology company. He is a board member of the American Sustainable Business Council and AAPI Progressive Action.

Chris Lu News Feed

$2 Trillion to ward off a depression. Over 86,000 US coronavirus cases, number one in the world. Bill breaks it down with Eliza Collins, Politics reporter covering the presidential election for The Wall Street Journal, Jason Dick, Deputy Editor at CQ Roll Call and Chris Lu, former Obama WH Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Labor.
Chris Lu The Bill Press Pod
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC.
Chris Lu MSNBC
"The logistics of this are hard,” said Chris Lu, who oversaw Cabinet Affairs for the Obama White House. “Even if you send people home, do they have the technology to do all of these jobs? The government is not yet built to telework.”
Chris Lu The Washington Post
Chris Lu, who served as a Deputy Labor Secretary under the Obama administration, predicted that such a plan would likely disincentivize testing and hurt efforts to slow the virus’ spread in so-called “red” states. “That would just be an odd thing to basically say that in certain counties, you don’t have to social distance, but in certain counties you do. That strikes me as at odds with not only what most governors would say, but what public experts would say as well.”
Chris Lu The Independent
Senior Fellow Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC.
Chris Lu MSNBC
The long-predicted grim effects of COVID-19 began to hit home in earnest, with numbers of cases in the U.S. doubling every 2-3 days, the economy in free fall, supermarket shelves emptied, and whole states and communities ordered to stay at home. Chris Lu, Barb McQuade, Anne Milgram, and Asha Rangappa –former feds with rich and varied experience in governmental responses to emergencies – join Harry to assess the governments’ work to date and to analyze the formidable difficulties that await us.
Chris Lu Talking Feds Podcast