June 9, 2005--A lobbyist who has successfully pushed issues of tort reform on behalf of small businesses has been named director of federal public policy to the U.S. House of Representatives by the National Federation of Independent Business, the organization said Tuesday.

Brad Close, who joined the NFIB in 2002, previously lobbied the House as a manager of legislative affairs for the NFIB. He was also behind the NFIB's successful push to amend the Business Interest Checking Act of 2003 to allow businesses to earn interest on their checking accounts. The amendment is still awaiting approval from the Senate.

Close has also lobbied the House to pass a Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act in 2004, which would protect businesses from being held liable for their customer's eating habits and obesity.

In his new role, Close is expected to focus his efforts on the NFIB's current agenda, which includes making health care plans more affordable for small business, simplifying the tax code, making it easier for businesses to comply with regulation, and protecting small business from excessive lawsuits.

Before joining the NFIB, Close was a subcommittee staff director for the U.S. House Committee on Small Business. A graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York, he started his career with U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde and also served as Administrative Assistant to then U.S. Rep. Tom Ewing.