WASHINGTON - Pat Toomey's firm fiscal principles made him a darling of the right in his 2010 U.S. Senate victory and quickly raised his profile in Washington.

But as he seeks a second term this fall, his economic views have also opened him to attack.

Democratic challenger Katie McGinty spent last week blasting Toomey for his opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that fined Wells Fargo $100 million for a scam affecting some two million consumer accounts.

It was the latest example of how Democrats say Toomey's stern views on the economy, regulations, and spending put him out of step with his constituents and undercut his claims to being a bipartisan dealmaker.

They have hammered him for opposing a minimum-wage increase, voting in May against a compromise spending plan to combat the Zika virus, and for repeatedly standing against bipartisan deals to keep the government running and U.S. debts paid.

"If you oppose raising the minimum wage, you should vote for Trump. You should also vote for Pat Toomey," President Obama jabbed at a rally in Philadelphia this month. "A Trump-Toomey economy will be right up your alley."

Toomey, though, argues that his long-held vision - less spending and borrowing, lower taxes, and a free market with little interference from Washington - will help businesses thrive and create the jobs Pennsylvanians need.

"Even people who might not spend a lot of time poring over budget spreadsheets, they intuitively understand that government's grown too big," he said Friday in a telephone interview, "and we can't continue to run up the massive deficits that we're running."

Here to spend less

On his third day in office in 2011, Toomey told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "I'm not here to find more ways to spend money. I'm here to find ways to spend less money."

A Harvard grad and former Wall Street derivatives trader, he arrived in the Senate after leading the Club for Growth, the fiercely antitax, anti-regulation organization.

Just months into his first year, Toomey was named to a bipartisan debt-reduction panel, where he made headlines with a proposal that broke with GOP orthodoxy: He said he would accept a limit on tax deductions for the wealthy in exchange for lowering tax rates across the board.

At the time, Democrats praised Toomey as someone willing to engage in serious negotiations, though they rejected his plan as tilted toward the rich.

When the deficit-cutting panel sputtered, Toomey backed another compromise.

Facing the so-called fiscal cliff, he voted in favor of a deal that raised income-tax rates on couples making at least $450,000, but averted far bigger tax hikes on the rest of the income ladder. He called it the best option under the circumstances.

Given space to draft his own plans, though, Toomey has called for cutting taxes on corporations, capital gains, and individuals - including those at the top of the income scale. A proposal in 2012 would have slashed discretionary spending to 2006 levels to balance the budget.

He has opposed bank bailouts and has argued that banking reforms passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis are too burdensome and should be rolled back.

Boosting the minimum wage, he says, would kill entry-level jobs: "If you raise the cost of something, you get less of it."

Toomey touts his work with Democrats on several measures aimed at sparking job creation by easing regulations. But he has also voted against four recent bipartisan budget deals - each meant to fund the government, allow for borrowing to pay off federal debts, and stave off deadline-fueled brinkmanship.

His most notable objection came in 2013, amid an ugly government shutdown. Toomey was one of just 18 senators to oppose a plan to reopen the government and raise its borrowing limit, a step needed to avoid a default.

He criticized that deal - and others since - for including too much spending and too few steps to reduce borrowing. Democrats say his votes risked economic disaster.

The ongoing fight over money to combat Zika illustrates Toomey's adherence to his fiscal philosophy, and its political risks.

In May, 23 Republicans _ including several facing tough re-elections _ joined with Democrats to advance a $1.1 billion package to fight the virus.

Toomey voted against the compromise, because it added to the federal tab. He instead favored a GOP plan - predictably blocked along party lines - that would have approved the money but required cuts to the Affordable Care Act. Later he supported passage of the bipartisan Zika deal after it was added, over his objection, to a broad military construction bill. (The money remains stuck in a political tug-of-war with Toomey backing a new GOP bill).

While Toomey touts fiscal responsibility, Democrats paint him as uncaring. They say his plans mostly help the wealthy.

"I don't think that holding down spending and in particular holding down the taxation of those who have more will help people making $7.25 an hour," said Brandon Evans, Pennsylvania state director for Working Families, which endorsed McGinty last week. "Most of his policies are business driven, private-side driven, Wall Street-driven."

Toomey has disagreed with business groups on some issues - most notably his opposition to the Export-Import Bank - but for the most part conservatives and the business lobby hail the senator.

He has a 91 percent lifetime rating from the Club for Growth. Americans for Prosperity, founded by the industrialist Koch brothers, gives him a 96 percent - and is heavily backing his reelection.

"This town is in desperate need of realists who can count, who understand the implications of ignoring the fiscal reality," said Bruce Josten, the top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has spent $5 million aiding Toomey's reelection, the most it has invested in any Senate race this cycle.

Contrasting visions

Toomey's Democratic rival in November offers a sharp contrast.

McGinty says government should give "a hand up" to the working class by mandating a $15 minimum wage, funding two years of free community college, providing paid family leave, and boosting Social Security benefits. She supports the Affordable Care Act and sees banking regulations as a needed safeguard.

"Pat Toomey has been about making it harder for working people to provide for themselves," she said Friday. "My agenda has been the opposite."

Toomey says her plans would jack up taxes on middle-class families. He points to her support, as Gov. Wolf's first chief of staff, for a proposal last year that would have raised income and sales taxes.

McGinty fires back that those increases would have paid for sweeping property-tax relief. She has said she "doesn't have any interest" in middle-class tax hikes, and would fund her ideas by closing tax loopholes and raising levies on the wealthy.

Toomey would rather cut the budget. He said the philosophy he espoused in his first week in office still holds: "The federal government spends too much money."


Staff writer Justine McDaniel contributed to this article.