Brett Loper, the top policy aide to House Speaker John Boehner who played a critical role in virtually all deficit negotiations in the past three years, has accepted a position running American Express' Washington office.
Loper, 39, the speaker's policy director and deputy chief of staff, was intimately involved in nearly every policy debate since Republicans won back the House majority in 2010.
From negotiations with the White House on a Grand Bargain, through prolonged discussions on the debt limit, supercommittee on deficit reduction and " fiscal cliff" tax negotiations, Loper clearly had the speaker's confidence and attention at every turn.
Boehner, R-Ohio, today called Loper "an invaluable asset" to the speaker's office, as well as the House Republican Conference.
"From our work to cut spending and reform our entitlement programs and broken tax code, to our efforts to enact free trade agreements and increase the supply of American energy, Brett has been at the center of every debate, and I have always benefited from his strategic advice and counsel," Boehner wrote in a statement today. "He has an exceptional grasp of policy, politics, and the role and operations of Congress. He will be missed throughout Boehnerland, our Conference, and the entire House."
One senior GOP aide admitted that the speaker's office will "miss" Loper, but added "you don't say, 'No' to AmEx."
"American Express is one of the most admired companies in the world," Loper said in a statement. "I am both humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work for one of the most valuable brands in history, with more than 150 years of success."
American Express is not Loper's first lobbying gig. He also worked as head of government affairs for the Advanced Medical Technology Association, representing the country's medical technology innovators.
"Loper has three young children and wants more flexibility for he and his wife to spend more time with them," a senior aide to the speaker said. "Last year, the speaker asked him to stay through the early part of this Congress, and he did. But top corporate opportunities like this come along rarely, and Loper decided he owed it to his family to take this one."
Prior to joining the Office of the Speaker in the 112th Congress, Loper served as the Republican staff director for House Ways & Means Committee under former ranking member Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La., who retired after the 110th Congress.
He also previously served as deputy chief of staff to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and served on the transition staff for Boehner in 2006 when he was elected to replace DeLay as majority leader.
Loper studied economics at Villanova University in Philadelphia and earned a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University in Washington. He is a native of Jackson, Miss.