A top ranking House Democrat said Thursday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats should step down to make way for new leaders in Congress.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said in an interview on C-SPAN's Newsmakers program that is time for Pelosi and other aging Democratic leaders to "pass the torch" to a new generation.

Pelosi, 77, has led House Democrats for 14 years and has served in Congress since 1987. She served as House speaker from 2007 to 2011 and has remained as minority leader since Democrats lost control of the chamber.

The comments made are the most explicit to date by a senior congressional Democrat and a member of the California congressional delegation about Pelosi’s political future.

According to Sanchez, Democrats in Congress are grappling with a generational rift.

“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 said on in an interview conducted by reporters with The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. “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.”

Sanchez said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and House Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., who have been part of Pelosi’s leadership team for more than a decade, also should prepare to step down.

“They are all of the same generation and again, their contributions to the Congress and the caucus are substantial,” she said. “But I think there comes a time when you need to pass that torch. And I think it’s time.”