Once again, a bill to tighten U.S. restrictions on textile imports is moving toward congressional passage. Once again, a presidential veto is certain. Once again, The Post registers enlightened opposition to such protectionist maneuvers on Capitol Hill {"Protecting Textile Profits," editorial, July 23}. And once again, all sides of this hassle expatiate on the textile-trade question without addressing the pros and cons of comprehensive government attention to the basic problems of this major U.S. industry.

To tighten import controls or not (even to have them or not) -- that should not be the central question of textile policy. The central question is: Does the textile industry need and deserve government help? If it does, such assistance should take the form of a coherent textile-revitalization strategy utilizing every suitable instrument of public policy. Import restriction, if needed at all, should be only one component of a balanced strategy, not (as now) the sum and substance of what passes for a textile policy. The strategy should be reassessed annually by appropriate government agencies and congressional committees to determine what changes might be advisable and to make sure that government aid lasts no longer than is necessary.

In the 35 years of U.S. quota restraints on textile imports, we have never had a textile strategy that met these standards. The only time a U.S. administration showed any interest in a coherent textile policy was the limited tilt in this direction by President Kennedy in 1961.

When President Reagan vetoed a highly restrictive textile quota bill a few years ago, he explained why such legislation would be wrong, but failed to suggest what kind of government policy would be right -- right for the industry and right for the nation. President Bush seems primed to repeat this failing in presidential leadership. DAVID J. STEINBERG Alexandria