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Fifth-ranking House Dem: Time for Pelosi to move on
Rep. Linda Sanchez (Calif.), the fifth-ranking House Democrat, in an interview published Thursday said it's time for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leadership team to pass the torch to a new generation.
Sanchez, publicly reflecting views that are seldom heard among top Democrats in the House, added that she would like "to see that happen."
"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 reporters from The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, who were conducting the interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."
"I want to see that happen. 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," said Sanchez, the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Sanchez, the first Latina in House leadership, also said it was time for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to move on. Along with Pelosi, the three Democratic leaders have been at the top of leadership for well over a decade.
"They are all of the same generation and again, their contributions to the Congress and the caucus are substantial. But I think there comes a time when you need to pass that torch. And I think it's time," she said.
Pelosi, 77, has served in the House since 1987 and has led the chamber's Democrats for 14 years. Hoyer, 78, has been in the House since 1981, and Clyburn, 77, entered the chamber in 1993.
Pelosi, who won an eighth term as House Democrats' leader in November after a challenge by Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), has faced calls from some Democratic lawmakers, like Rep. Seth Moulton (Mass.), in recent months to step aside.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement that the minority leader still has strong support among House Democrats, calling the suggestion that she step down from her leadership role "a distraction."
"Leader Pelosi enjoys wide support in the Caucus and has always said she not in Congress on a shift but on a mission," he said. "Leader Pelosi is focused on winning back the House and anything else is a distraction from our path to the Majority."
--Mike Lillis contributed
Updated at 2:55 p.m.