House Republicans, still seething over what they termed Speaker Jim Wright's highhandedness in ramrodding through a $12.3 billion tax package last week, staged a mini-revolt yesterday that caught Wright and other Democrats by surprise.

What should have been a pro-forma noon session dragged on for 3 1/2 hours, as Republicans twice blocked efforts by Wright (D-Tex.) to adjourn and forced members who had skipped the session to rush back to the Capitol.

"Compared to this, the process {of running for president} is looking saner by the minute," Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.), who recently ruled out a 1988 bid, said as she walked off the floor.

Wright dismissed the maneuver as an effort by a number of "self-righteous" and "blatantly cynical" Republicans to let off steam. "It's no fun being in the minority," he said.

But Rep. Robert S. Walker (R-Pa.), who led the protest, charged that the Republicans had been "robbed" and "mugged" by Wright last Thursday, and said it was time to retaliate. "We found out that the majority is perfectly willing to change its rules to crush the minority," he said.

House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) said Republicans likely will continue obstructionist tactics until "the speaker understands and appreciates the wrong he did to the minority. You're getting right on the rim where the speaker himself is getting mighty damned autocractic," Michel said.

The House approved the $12.3 billion tax increase by a one-vote margin Thursday night as part of a larger budget reconciliation bill, after Wright held the vote open for 10 minutes while the leadership rounded votes. Republicans thought they had defeated the measure, 206 to 205, with time expired, when Rep. Jim Chapman (D-Tex.) returned to the floor and switched his vote.

Michel and Walker also charged that the House Budget Committee broke the rules by sending the tax and budget package to the floor without a quorum -- a charge disputed by Wright and other Democrats.

Budget Committee Chairman William H. Gray III (D-Pa.) described yesterday's action as "unfortunate, tragic and certainly not helpful."

"During the markup in my committee, they refused to participate," he said. "They didn't even offer an alternative . . . . It's funny, but the only place I've seen Republicans cooperate is on spending bills."

On Friday, with most members gone for the weekend, Republicans demanded a roll-call vote on routine approval of the journal of the previous day's proceedings. No quorum was mustered, forcing an unusual, brief Saturday House session.

Some Republicans, including Walker and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wis.), returned yesterday determined to challenge Wright on procedural matters, knowing many Democrats planned to stay away. A motion to adjourn was defeated, 100 to 92.

Sensenbrenner then moved unsuccessfully to direct the sergeant at arms to "arrest" absent members and bring them to the floor.

After a second motion to adjourn narrowly failed, the House voted 102 to 96 to authorize the speaker to compel absent members to show up. Activity ground to a halt as staff members got on the phone to round up missing House members. Finally, a quorum in hand, the House voted 116 to 106 to adjourn for the day.

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said he was forced to cut short meetings with state officials and constituents to rush back to the Capitol from Baltimore. "Whatever sympathy people had for them was lost," he said.

But Rep. Jack Davis (R-Ill.) defended the GOP maneuvers, saying, "We've seen the mask of power taken off, and the raw, naked power underneath that mask."