Republican cosponsors will push to enact legislation to allow federal workers to participate in partisan politics on their own time despite White House opposition, Rep. Gene Taylor (R-Mo.) said yesterday.

A spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) also said he "won't back down" in his support for the Hatch Act revisions.

Almost-certain administration opposition to the measure sets the stage for a battle that could echo the bruising fights of 1976 and 1978 over "de-Hatching" federal workers.

In 1976, the House failed to override President Gerald R. Ford's veto, and two years later an effort to revise the Hatch Act was dropped when it threatened to scuttle President Jimmy Carter's Civil Service Reform Act.

This time, the Hatch Act revision bill breezed through hearings in the summer, and the only member of Congress who has come out in opposition since the bill was approved unanimously on Tuesday by the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee is Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.).

Wolf, whose Northern Virginia congressional district includes a large number of federal employes, said yesterday that he has "serious, serious problems" with the bill because it would "politicize the work force" and subject employes to intense political pressure.

Wolf said he was concerned that the bill does not include exemptions for federal workers with sensitive jobs, such as Internal Revenue Service auditors or employes who oversee the awarding of contracts. He urged that further action be delayed and that a blue ribbon panel study the issue.

But Wolf's Republican counterpart in the Maryland suburbs, Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-Md.) supported the bill in the committee. She hailed it as "the 1987 great compromise."

"I am in favor of a bill that will permit federal employes to participate in politics if they so desire and protect them if they choose not to," Morella said. "I think it is wrong that scientists from the National Institutes of Health, accountants from the Internal Revenue Service, statisticians from the Census Bureau cannot particpate in the political process by virtue of their employment with the federal government."

Taylor, ranking Republican on the committee, said he had "always been opposed" to Hatch Act revision until this year. Taylor said the committee compromise "makes sense" because it "clarifies what federal workers can do and what they can't do."

"It prohibits all on-the-job political activity," he said. "No campaigning on government time -- they can get involved on their own time if they want to."

"I don't think there is a big group out there of these people who are dying to get real active politically," he said. "But if they want to be, they shouldn't be denied the right."

Taylor said it was "touch and go" whether the administration will "prematurely oppose" the bill, or will "talk to the members who wrote it."

He said he had been "trying to work with {the White House} to see what their objections are. Maybe it could be fine-tuned, but I don't see how you do it if they have the attitude that our minds are made up and we don't want to be confused by the facts."

The issue has been placed on the agenda of the White House Domestic Policy Council meeting next Thursday. If, as expected, the administration then announces its opposition, committee staff members said yesterday they will seek to take the bill to the House floor as soon as possible.

Chairman William D. Ford (D-Mich.) promised Taylor last week he would have "some time to work out an accommodation."Staff writer Eric Pianin contributed to this report.