A top aide to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is leaving his post to run the Washington office of American Express, becoming the third high-ranking staffer to depart the office in recent months.

Brett Loper, one of Boehner’s key conduits to the White House during the doomed “fiscal cliff” negotiations of 2012, is returning to K Street after a brief stint in the Speaker’s office where he most recently served as deputy chief of staff.

“Brett has been at the center of every debate,” Boehner said in a statement, praising Loper for his “strategic advice and counsel” and calling him an “invaluable asset.”

Loper also played a large part in working with the president’s staff during 2011’s talks over the failed “grand bargain” to reduce the deficit, which ultimately led to the debt ceiling crisis.

“He will be missed throughout Boehnerland, our Conference, and the entire House,” he said.

{mosads}Loper’s departure is likely to fuel fresh speculation that Boehner might be serving his last term in Congress. The Speaker’s chief of staff, Barry Jackson, left last year and began work at two separate firms — Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a lobby shop, and The Lindsey Group, an economic advisory firm  at the beginning of 2013.

In February, Boehner’s health adviser, Emily Porter, left to become a vice president at the lobbying firm The Nickles Group.

The Speaker has said he has no plans to leave Congress anytime soon.

“I’m in a fight to cut spending, create jobs, and — frankly — save the American Dream,” Boehner said in March. “I intend to lead that fight as Speaker of the House. And I’m far from done.”

Before joining the Speaker’s office in late 2010, Loper worked as a head of government affairs for the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a lobby group for the medical device industry.

“I’m grateful that Brett chose to return to government service when House Republicans took the majority in 2011,” Boehner said.

Prior to landing at the medical trade group in 2008, Loper held several roles in Congress, serving as the House Ways and Means Committee’s Republicans staff director under former Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.) and as the deputy chief of staff for former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority leader.

Loper helped Boehner transition into the majority leader role when DeLay retired in 2006.

This post was edited on June 25. It initially stated that Barry Jackson left Boehner’s office earlier this year. He actually left in September 2012.

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