I've gone back and looked at national HUD earmarks from FY 2004-FY 2008 and have a better idea about how Congress will claim a reduction in earmarks. I focused on HUD earmarks for Economic Development Initiative and Neighborhood Initiative programs.
Because FY 2008 HUD earmarks in the House bill are half FY 2006 levels it seems highly likely that those are the two years which members will choose to compare.
HUD Earmark Levels FY 2004-FY 2008 (Pending):
FY 2008 $180 Million House Bill,, (Senate Bill higher at $288 Million)
FY 2007 $000 Million (Omnibus Appropriations Bill)
FY 2006 $360 Million
FY 2005 $304 Million (Omnibus Appropriations Bill)
FY 2004 $322 Million (Omnibus Appropriations Bill)
(I also snuck a peek back a decade ago to FY 1998--Earmarks for the EDI program were $100 Million and there were NO Neighborhood Initiative earmarks!)
It appears highly likely that once again HUD appropriations may be rolled into an omnibus spending bill making it 4 out of the last 5 years that will have happened.
Missing in this analysis is a comparison of Presidential earmark levels over these same years--the Office of Management and Budget conveniently omits Presidential budget earmarks in their definition of earmarks. (One could argue that additional set asides for Enterprise, Habitat for Humanity, Youthbuild, La Raza and the Low Income Support Corporation should get also get counted as earmarks, but I didn't do so, as these are likely also found in the Presidents budget).