I admire Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for his hours of work and drained cellphone battery to avoid a Senate meltdown over confirmation of the president’s Cabinet nominees [“McCain gets credit for helping to avert Senate showdown,” news, July 17]. But it is sad that it was so hard to do such a simple thing.

The deal basically amounts to no change in the Senate rules as long as nominees stalled by Republicans receive a vote. It just shows what a dismal, unhappy place the once-magnificent Senate has become.

Steve Izant, Crownsville

The article about the role of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in brokering a deal between the parties was very encouraging. Some semblance of bipartisanship at last!

However, I was discouraged when I read, “Democratic leaders called Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, and by 9 a.m. Tuesday they had reached a deal.” Evidently, Big Labor could have scuttled the deal. I wonder what Mr. Trumka was promised.

Bill Teer, Fairfax