Mr. Alexander will find an ally in his committee’s ranking Democrat, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, with whom he has partnered to broker deals, including reauthorizing the country’s elementary and secondary education law and preserving insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Ms. Murray introduced Pell grant legislation last year that would expand the financial aid — which currently supplies about eight million low-income students with up to $5,920 yearly — to include inmates, undocumented immigrants and students with drug offenses. She also supported the Obama-era pilot program.

“I’ve long believed education can open doors otherwise closed, and that is absolutely also the case for incarcerated individuals,” Ms. Murray said in a statement on Wednesday night. “Repealing the ban on Pell grants for prisoners will give those who have paid their debts to society a meaningful second chance, and the ability to get their lives back on track and support…

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