Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced that she would step down as the leader of the Democrats in the US House of Representatives.

The move comes after Republicans took control of the House following midterm elections, with Kevin McCarthy of California expected to become the next speaker.

She said she would not seek a leadership position in the chamber after her time as speaker ends in January.

"Now we must move boldly into the future," 82-year-old Pelosi said. "The hour has come for a new generation."

Pelosi hailed the "majestic miracle" of American democracy, with her remarks receiving cheers from fellow lawmakers. She said that "democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm."

Pelosi is expected to back New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries as Democratic House Minority Leader. House Democrats will hold a leadership vote on November 30.

Pelosi's decision could also impact whether Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina also step down from their leadership roles.