President Obama is making it clear that he's not letting up on his job until a new commander in chief is sworn in, even as his eight years in office are drawing to a close.

"[M]y instructions to myself have always been that we are going to squeeze every last ounce of progress that we can make as long as I have the privilege of holding this office," Obama said on Tuesday during a joint appearance with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Lame duck presidents traditionally have a tough time getting the policy apparatus in Washington to pay attention to what they want, as people's eyes start shifting to the next president and the next Congress once election season begins. But fresh off his trade win in Congress and favorable Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage, a rejuvenated Obama last week ticked off a litany of issues he wants to tackle in his final 18 months in office.

With yet another deadline looming before the highway trust fund runs out again, Obama said he wants to go beyond replenishing it in the short term and pursue an infrastructure building initiative.

"I want to see if we can get bipartisan work done with Congress around rebuilding our infrastructure," he said. "We've got the same work to do [as Brazil] and we need to put people back to work here."

To that end, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration wants to close tax loopholes to refill the trust fund's coffers, an idea House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has said he could consider.

Specifically, the administration and Republicans such as Ryan are discussing whether U.S.-based companies that have parked earnings overseas should be able to bring that money back home at a discounted tax rate. Although the corporations wouldn't have to pay full freight on those repatriated earnings, this would still generate a windfall of about $140 billion in tax revenue, Ryan has said.

However, Ryan and other repatriation supporters acknowledge that would only put the fund into the black temporarily, and that Democrats and Republicans are far apart on how to keep the fund filled with gas tax money and possibly other sources of funding. Republicans, for example, have said raising the gas tax is not an option.

A recent addition to Obama's list is sentencing reform and overhauling the criminal justice system — something that a bipartisan congressional duo introduced a plan for last month.

"I am really interested in the possibilities — the prospect of bipartisan legislation around the criminal justice system, something that I think directly speaks to some of the themes that I mentioned" in Charleston, S.C., during his eulogy for the murder victims of the hate-crime shootings at a historically black church there.

"And we've seen some really interesting leadership from some unlikely Republican legislators, very sincerely concerned about making progress there," he said, possibly referring to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who along with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., introduced a criminal justice system reform package on June 26.

The Safe, Accountable Fair and Effective Justice, or SAFE Act, would overhaul the federal sentencing and corrections system to combat recidivism, maintain lengthy sentences only for violent and career criminals and seek alternatives to jail for nonviolent offenders.

"I welcome the president's support," Sensenbrenner said about Obama's remarks. "One of the things that you need to get anything done in Washington is to make it bipartisan and bicameral."

Obama also listed job-training programs and promoted his plan for making two years of community college free.

"And what we're going to do is just keep on hammering away at all the issues that I think are going to have an impact on the American people," he said.

Obama didn't tick off everything he wants to achieve between now and Inauguration Day in early 2017. Speaking at a briefing a week earlier, Earnest listed a few more priorities, starting with Medicaid expansion. Because of an earlier Supreme Court ruling, it's up to each state to add newly qualifying citizens to its Medicaid roles.

"[W]hether it's getting additional states to expand Medicaid or getting more Americans to sign up during the next open enrollment period, we're going to continue to be very focused on that," Earnest said on June 25.

Thirty states have so far expanded Medicaid in some way.

Earnest also listed avoiding a government shutdown as priority of necessity.

The White House wants to try to "facilitate some bipartisan compromise on Capitol Hill...we should be able to ensure that those kinds of decisions are made without drama and without a negative effect on our economy," he said.

Although neither Obama nor Earnest mentioned it, the White House has said bringing the Voting Rights Act into compliance with a controversial Supreme Court ruling will be a focus of Obama's fourth-quarter agenda.

Two bills are pending that would rewrite the provision struck down by the Supreme Court that underpins the law's enforcement mechanism.

One is more expansive and only has Democratic support so far. The other, authored by Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., won modest support from former Attorney General Eric Holder last year.

"Some of them will be left undone, but we're going to try to make progress on every single one of them," Obama said of his priorities. "Are we going to give them more opportunity so that if they work hard, they can get ahead? Are we going to make this a more inclusive economy, a more inclusive society, a more fair, just society? If that's our North Star and we keep on tacking in that direction, we're going to make progress."

"And I feel pretty excited about it," he said.