A welcome bipartisan breeze blew into the nation’s capital Wednesday as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a key bill that helps retain American manufacturing jobs: the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).

The bill, which is periodically renewed, provides duty reductions or suspensions on some manufacturing raw materials imported into the United States. It has previously enjoyed broad support from Democrats and Republicans, but became bogged down earlier this year when the House Republican leadership announced a moratorium on earmarks. In their zeal, they ill-advisedly broadened earmarks’ definition to include the breaks the MTB provides to manufacturers — even though there’s no direct appropriation to these companies and the breaks were not considered earmarks before.

Quibbling over earmarks this way didn’t make a lot of sense with the national unemployment rate hovering at an alarming 9.5 percent. The MTB has helped firms in Minnesota and across the nation stay competitive for years; many other countries provide similar duty reductions to help their own manufacturers. Some of Minnesota’s leading employers — 3M, Syngenta, Target and Honeywell — were among 130 companies signing a letter earlier this year urging House Democrats and Republicans to pass the MTB.

Fortunately, the MTB passed 378 to 43 on Wednesday, with 249 Democrats and 129 Republicans voting yes. Minnesota Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachmann, a longtime earmark foe, was the only member of the Minnesota House delegation to vote against the MTB.

Minnesota’s two other Republican House members — Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen — voted yes. Kline’s vote was perhaps the most surprising because he’s also a longtime earmark hawk. The second district congressman deserves praise for casting a commonsense vote --- one that puts a priority on helping  Minnesota businesses and workers. Kline’s office provided this statement Wednesday: "Congress must remain focused on creating private sector jobs – period. In addition to providing access to new markets for U.S. goods and services, Congressman Kline supports tax relief that will preserve American manufacturing jobs, which is what this legislation is designed to do."