Foreign Policy and Human Rights

Foreign Affairs and National Defense

The American people have called for an end to our open-ended commitment in the Middle East. We should all be proud of our troops and their admirable service overseas. It is time to bring them home in a responsible manner.

Economic development, regional diplomacy, and effective political and legal institutions are the keys to success in the region. But these efforts cannot succeed amidst pervasive violence and insecurity.


Zoe has led bipartisan efforts to urge Presidents of both political parties to consult and receive authorization from Congress prior to ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria, citing the President’s responsibility to do so prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

She believes the nation's Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, but foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets.  Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.

Human Rights in Vietnam

Zoe is proud to have co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam with Former Representatives Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Tom Davis (R-VA) and serves as a current co-Chair. The actions of all nations must be measured against the standards of international behavior to which they have agreed. Having laws alone does not guarantee that they will be enforced or respected. This is clear in the case of Vietnam.

As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Vietnam is obliged to recognize freedom of expression. Article 69 of its own Constitution states: "the citizen shall enjoy freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of the press, the right to be informed, and the right to assemble..." Nonetheless, the government of Vietnam repeatedly and consciously violates its international obligations with its relentless persecution of those expressing their right to freedom of expression.

As a Member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, Zoe will continue to bring attention to political persecution in Vietnam and put pressure on the Vietnamese government to improve their human rights records.

More on Foreign Policy and Human Rights

June 11, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to defund two surveillance "backdoors" that currently allow intelligence agencies access to Americans' private data and correspondence without a warrant. The amendment, which is part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2685), passed by a vote of 255-174.

June 4, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.Fifteen bipartisan members of Congress are calling on the Vietnamese Government to release human rights blogger Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and 26 additional wrongfully incarcerated political prisoners.

May 14, 2015 Blog Post
I wanted to share a new op-ed I wrote with my colleague Chris Smith (R – N.J.) outlining our requirements for including Vietnam in the multi-national free trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
May 13, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the below statement today following passage of the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048) in the House, and called on additional reforms to end warrantless bulk collection of U.S. persons' data and communications:

"The USA FREEDOM Act makes meaningful reforms to a few of our nation's surveillance programs. I applaud the bill's authors who worked to make sure these improvements were included.

July 23, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON , DC – Key border proposals issued today by the Republican House working group to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border would carelessly return vulnerable children to traffickers for persecution and abuse, said U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose, Calif.).

Lofgren, the Senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, called for responding to the humanitarian crisis in a manner that ensures vulnerable children are not hastily returned to life-threatening circumstances:

May 22, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee representing part of Silicon Valley, spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on her opposition to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act (video is also available here): 
May 22, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee representing part of Silicon Valley, released the following statement today after voting against H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives: 
"Across the country, many people were surprised to learn that the privacy rights they believed were protected under the 4th Amendment did not apply to NSA surveillance of their communications.
April 30, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, released the following statement today commemorating Black April Day.  Black April is traditionally observed by the Vietnamese-American community on April 30th to mark the Fall of Saigon and the fall of the South Vietnamese government to the North Vietnamese communist regime on April 30, 1975:
"Today I join others around the world, and in my own community, in commemorating the 39th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. 
April 29, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46), co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, hosted a congressional briefing at the U.S. Capitol today to discuss Vietnam's oppressive media environment. Below are Congresswoman Lofgren's opening remarks, video of which is available by clicking here:
"It is important, of course, that we think about World Press Day, this coming Saturday, as we proceed into the support forum today. 
April 3, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the leading Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, delivered the following statement today during a joint hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommittee titled "Overturning 30 Years of Precedent:  Is the Administration Ignoring the Dangers of Training Libyan pilots and Nuclear Scientists?"