Congressional budget-cutters have tentatively decided that their deficit-reduction package will deny a planned 2 percent raise for members of Congress -- and as many as 10,000 other top-level federal officials, according to congressional aides.

The decision seems almost certain to trigger a battle over the traditional linkage between congressional pay and that of judges and upper-level civil servants.

House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) has told members that he will set a vote to scuttle the scheduled 2 percent raise for members of Congress, judges and upper-income executives and civil servants. A vote on a congressional pay raise almost inevitably will kill it, congressional aides say. Congress has often denied itself pay raises even when the leadership was firmly supporting them.

Sen. Lawton Chiles (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is leading an effort to preserve raises for judges, federal executives and members of the Senior Executive Service by "decoupling" their salaries from that of senators and House members.

Chiles said he wants to exempt only members of Congress from the Jan. 1 scheduled increase. "Decoupling" language was approved by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year..

The decision to forgo the 2 percent federal raise is designed to save Congress the political embarrassment of voting itself three raises in just over a year.

All federal workers received a 3 percent raise last January. Members of Congress, judges, top federal officials and 7,000 members

of the Senior Executive Service

got additional raises in February after a presidential commission said they had suffered a 40 percent decline in real earnings in the last 18 years.

Raises for the top-level officials went into effect automatically after Congress, in a carefully orchestrated plan, voted to kill them a day after a statutory deadline for action had passed.

Members of Congress received a 16 percent increase -- to $89,500 annually. Their salaries are identical to those of district court judges and agency heads such as the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Senior Executive Service -- the nation's top civil servants -- got a 4 percent increase.

The Senior Executive Association called the proposed pay freeze "unwise and inappropriate."

"If Congress finds it necessary to exempt itself from the pay raise, we can understand and accept it," said Carol Bonasaro, executive director of the association. "But to exempt the Senior Executive Service aggravates the already severe problems of recruiting and retaining people."

The presidential commission last year said that low pay for judges in comparison to attorneys in private practice "threatened the once sacrosanct concept of lifetime judicial appointments." It called high-level federal salaries "absurdly low."

"I feel stronger and stronger for decoupling," said Mark Abramson, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Government. "Federal pay is behind. It would be tough getting raises for the senior executives, but they would stand a better chance on their own," rather than being tied to Congress.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who led the fight against the earlier congressional pay increase, said yesterday that "while {Wright} is at it he should roll back the back-door pay grab of February 1987, which he made sure was not voted on in accordance with the timetable {in the law}."

He said members of the House had a "strong belief that judges and assistant secretaries shouldn't make more than they do. They don't want any disparities."

Wilson Morris, spokesman for the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, said "our people feel very strongly" about preserving parity between the pay of members of Congress and federal executives.

"I have not run into a House member who finds the arguments for decoupling appealing," Morris said.