Changes in Boehnerland

The Hill has learned that House Speaker John Boenher (R-Ohio) promoted policy director, Brett Loper, to deputy chief of staff this week.

Boehner's new chief of staff, Mike Sommers, made the announcement in an e-mail sent to Boehnerland staffers on Wednesday afternoon. The Hill obtained a copy of that e-mail.

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Noting Loper's service as staff director at the powerful Ways and Means Committee and as deputy chief of staff to former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Sommers wrote "In Brett's new role, he will continue as Policy Director but also assist more with the big picture planning and strategy for the Speaker's office."

Since returning to Hill service when Boehner became speaker in 2011, Loper has played a key role in brokering deals on the major legislative initiatives, including the debt ceiling and transportation package. (His initial hire following the House GOP 2010 election caused buzz among lawmakers wary of appearing too cozy with K Street. Boehner plucked Loper from his job as a lobbyist for Advanced Medical Technology Association.)

In his new book, "The Price of Politics," reporter Bob Woodward described Loper as "one of those very important figures, little known outside Washington, who did the excruciating detail work" on the deal between Congress and the administration that eventually prevented a default on the nation's debt limit last summer.

Loper will share his title with Boehner's current deputy chief of staff, Dave Schnittger, a point that Sommers punctuated in the e-mail to staff. (Schnittger has worked with Boehner since the Ohio lawmaker's first campaign. He focuses more on communications than on the nuts and bolts of intricate policy making.)

"Dave’s expertise in strategic communications will be key as we enter the critical lame duck and 113th Congress," Sommers wrote in the email.

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