Federal agencies, though with reduced budgets because of the sequestration that kicked in at the start of the calendar year, are still rushing to spend every allocated penny before the close of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The spending is part of a Washington routine known as "Christmas in July" as federal agencies ramp up to spend every cent in their budgets before the books close so that Congress won't conclude they can get by on less money in the ensuing fiscal year.

According to audits of year-end spending in the past, there's a lot of buying of office furniture, playground equipment and musical instruments. (Draw your own conclusions.)

One of the few government agencies to fess up to the tactic this year was the Coast Guard. "The standards haven't changed [since the sequestration]," said spokesmann Carlos Gomez. "We've got to spend our entire operational budget every year."

The Marine Corps, with $1.4 billion less in its budget this year, said in a statement, "For a fraction of the DOD budget, we will continue to provide the nation its most capable force in readiness."

Meanwhile, the IRS, which last year chalked up a controversial California conference — where participants dressed up as "Star Trek" characters and otherwise cavorted about doing nonofficial business — to spending left-over, year-end funds, announced it "will continue to look for additional savings as the fiscal year winds down."