The fifth-highest ranking House Democrat has suggested that the House minority leader, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, should step down from leadership to make way for a new generation of lawmakers.
On Oct. 5, Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez of California asserted during an interview that Pelosi should consider stepping down from leadership. Sanchez, who is the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is the highest-ranking Democrat in the House to call for Pelosi to step down.
"I do think we have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus and I do think it's time to pass a torch to a new generation of leaders and I want to be a part of that transition," Sanchez told The Washington Post. "I want to see that happen."
Sanchez added: "I think we have too many great members here that don't always get the opportunities that they should. I would like to see that change."
In addition to calling for Pelosi to cede power, Sanchez also suggested that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn surrender their leadership positions after the 2018 midterm elections.
"They are all of the same generation and again, their contributions to the Congress and the caucus are substantial," Sanchez continued. "But I think there comes a time when you need to pass that torch. And I think it's time."
Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill did not directly address Sanchez's recommendation in discussing her comments: "Leader Pelosi is focused on winning back the House and anything else is a distraction from our path to the majority," said Hammill.
Meanwhile, Hoyer stated that he remained committed to his leadership role but that he agreed "with [Sanchez] that we have talented leaders throughout our Caucus."
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley released a statement asserting that the Democratic leadership still maintained broad support.
"Leader Pelosi, Whip Hoyer, and Assistant Leader Clyburn work harder and smarter each and every day for our members and our party," Crowley said, according to CNN.
Pelosi has led the House Democrats since 2003. In November 2016, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio made an unsuccessful bid to replace the California lawmaker's leadership position. Since then, several Democrats have suggested that Pelosi and the rest of the party leadership should step aside for a new generation.
On June 22, Pelosi pushed back on such talk: "We're paving a way for a new generation of leadership, and I respect any opinion that my members have," Pelosi said during a press conference, according to NBC News. "But my decision about how long I stay is not up to them."
The House minority leader added: "I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly."